Demedicalize Architecture


  • Giovanna Borasi
  • Mirko Zardini




Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) long ago observed, “In the order of things it is found that one never seeks to avoid one inconvenience without running into another; but prudence consists in knowing how to recognize the qualities of inconveniences, and in picking the less bad as good.” Given these complex conditions of engagement, it is critical that the relationship between architecture and health be revised. While perhaps partly responsible, architecture is not always capable of providing positive solutions for the environment or the “sick” body. Instead, a confused and anxious contemporary architecture struggles to produce new manifestations that avoid exalting the spectacle of capital of the last twenty years. While architecture is looking once again into the ambiguous political, cultural, moral, and, above all, social ideas of health and medicalization for both justification and a new mandate, it should seek to challenge – rather than pacify – the newly emerging neo-liberal agenda and question a medicalized vision and approach toward health issues.

How to Cite

Borasi, G., & Zardini, M. (2021). Demedicalize Architecture. Docomomo Journal, (62), 76–83.







Author Biographies

Giovanna Borasi

(Italy, 1971) Architect, editor, and curator, Giovanna Borasi, has been the director the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) as of January 2020 and its Chief Curator (2014-2019) and Curator, Contemporary Architecture (2005-2010). Borasi studied architecture at the Politecnico di Milano and her work explores the impact of contemporary environmental, political, and social issues on urbanism and the built environment. Among her publications and exhibitions are Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture (2011); The Other Architect (2015), and her latest curatorial project is a three-part documentary film series that considers changing definitions of home and homelessness.

Mirko Zardini

(Italy, 1955) Architect, author and curator, Mirko Zardini, was the Director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) from 2005-2019. Zardini studied at Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia and his research engages with contemporary architecture by questioning and re-examining assumptions on which architects operate today. Among his publications and exhibitions are Asfalto: Il carattere della città (2003); Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture (2011); and It’s All Happening So Fast: A Counter- History of the Modern Canadian Environment (2016); and a forthcoming anthology of his collected writings.


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