Stories & Projects

Public lecture: Therapeutic Architecture


In November 2018, Umeå School of Architecture invited the public to four Wednesday Open Lectures with architects Josefin Wangel, Rocío Pina, Javier Sánchez Merina and Art Historian Halldóra Arnardóttir. In his lecture Javier Sánchez Merina talked about therapeutic architecture. 

About the lecture: An interdisciplinary research of architecture is something that society demands from our profession. Furthermore, in many countries that are currently immersed in a recessive economic process, it is the only possible solution. In that context, it is urgent to clarify the scope of our projects: Those whose ultimate goal consists of going beyond the limits of other disciplines through the application of architecture. Traditionally, architecture supported itself by various branches of knowledge to advance its proposals: Structural Knowledge, Artistic Trends, New Materials, Technological Advances, Economic Changes, Political positions and Conflicts, Environmental Crisis and Natural Catastrophes, Social organizations...While the resulting architectures are excellent examples of applying these areas of knowledge, our interest lies in the reverse process: how the discipline of architecture can cause changes in others. To illustrate this Javier used the case study:

CASA LM+L, therapeutic architecture for autism. 
A commission for a dwelling for a family with a child with severe autism gave us the opportunity to make an Agreement of Investigation between the University of Alicante and ASTRADE (Association for Individuals with Autism in Murcia Region). An opportunity that turned into a creation of an architecture that went beyond building a mere house with the functional requirements to accommodate Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We had the ambition to create therapeutic architecture, that is to say, the house itself would serve the child to develop and mature.

About the lecturer:  Javier Sánchez Merina is Associate Professor of Architectural Design Studio at the University of Alicante. For the last 20 years, he has been teaching Architecture Design in institutions which include Kingston University in London, Carleton University Ottawa and directing workshops around the world. He is a winner of the Region of Murcia Award for Architecture, Nomination Award Mies van der Rohe, Referent for Therapeutic Architecture of the American National Alzheimer Plan, co-author of the series of articles "Stories of Houses", published in ABC Cultural, Morgunblaðið (Iceland) and La Verdad in Murcia, and written chapters in the books Fresh Air in my Face. Enabling people with Dementia to reconnect with Nature, An Architect's Guide to Fame and Kristín Guðmundsdóttir, Interior Designer. His classes, writings and built work show a commitment to establish important relationships between teaching, research and profession. Recently, Javier coordinated the international EURAU congress held in September 2018 in Alicante: RETROACTIVE RESEARCH on architecture's ability to question and extend the limits of other disciplines.

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    The Stories & Projects section is a space for brief updates about the activities at Umeå School of Architecture: notes from on-going projects, links to articles in media, summaries from public lectures, reports on different collaborations. Click on the titles to see each full story.