Intermediate 2 Sophia Alami, Intermediate 2 (2015-16), interior view of bathhouse

The Inside and the Outside (or as Freud asked: 'how would it be if these insane people were right?')

Ana Araujo, Enrico Pinna, Patricia Mato-Mora

"If we throw a crystal on the floor, it breaks, but not into haphazard pieces. It comes apart along its lines of cleavage into fragments whose boundaries, though they were invisible, were predetermined by the crystal's structure. Mental patients are split and broken structures of the same kind."

This was Freud in 1933 giving an introductory lecture on "psycho-analysis", yet his assessment of the fragility of his patients' minds also translates to our work as architects. This year Intermediate 2 will delve deep into the parallel folds of architecture and the mind to address a nineteenth-century psychiatric hospital in Genoa, Italy. Similar to last year, we will work with a real client - Genoa's city government - which has asked the unit to transform this historically charged structure into a new urban complex to include a library, housing and a garden.

We will draw inspiration from the site's intriguing physical arrangement - a grid of nine neoclassical square-shaped buildings organised around courtyards and complemented by a semi-hexagonal addition dating from the 1930s - as well as the stories of what took place inside. We will look at the history of the psychiatric institution, paying particular attention to its role in defining contemporary subjectivity while also investigating the wider context of Genoa: its beautiful architectural landmarks, its unassuming yet charismatic craft and design traditions, and the precociously cosmopolitan inclinations that continue to shape the region. We will also continue to use model-making, prototyping and different drawing techniques as design tools for material experimentation. Influenced by the so-called 'split and broken structures' who lived on our site long before us, we will use fantasy and charm to transform our world and our lives.

Unit Staff

Ana Araujo is interested in the relationship between architectural design, theories of perception and psychoanalysis. She runs a small design studio in Windsor and has lectured and published internationally.

This year Intermediate 2 will have two main collaborators: Enrico Pinna, principal of Pinna Viardo Architects (Genoa, Italy); and Patricia Mato-Mora, a former Intermediate 2 student who currently practises as a researcher and as an artist.


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