Would You Live in an Abandoned Mental Hospital?

April 12, 2010

In February of this year I read an article in Fast Company.  The headline was the one you see above…Would you live in an Abandoned Mental Hospital? Well…intriguing!  First thought…a resounding NO…second thought…why not?

Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture, an award winning architecture firm based in Göteborg, Sweden, plans to turn one of Sweden’s old, ugly mental hospitals into a sustainable apartment complex. Dubbed Parkour, it not only addresses the “green” aspects of re-use rather then tear down, but also addresses another major social issue by offering a sense of community to residents.  They feel that in Sweden (like much of the rest of the “civilized” western world) people are actually dying of loneliness as they miss that sense of extended family, community or tribe.

So their plan is to redesign the hospital into a series of apartments for families and singles. With common areas (spa, lounge, pool, gym, theater) running through the building.  The building will also be fitted with solar cells, solar panels and small wind turbines to harvest renewable energy sources. Local food production on the roof reduces needs for transportation and adds a safe and organic source for residents food. Rainwater is collected to be reused for the irrigation of the greenhouses and for flushing toilets.

Each  apartment is designed in two parts to create flexibility.  The first part is a static and compact area that includes kitchen, shower, toilet, laundry, some storage, ventilation, electrical installations, media outlet, sockets and switches. The second part is built up of super-flexible zones that grow, shrink, disappear and come back depending on daily needs and desires through the use of movable walls.   

Personally I think this is a great idea on all fronts. As a designer who works with Energetics of Space™, it is clear to me that the re-use of this space is a great service. In an era of re-use, re-cycle, it’s better then tearing it down…A thoughtful and beautiful design and use of the space will uplift all who live there…and community is a key trend as we move further into the 21st century. It’s quantum physics that says while energy will never go away, it can be transformed. And this project sounds like a great way to transform what was once perceived as a “bad, ugly & negative” place into something truly inspiring. Good job!

What do you think…would you live in an abandoned Mental Hospital?

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Irene Turner

I am fortunate that I have always been able to create beauty that uplifts people through my work; for 15 years in the international fashion ...

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