Kersten Geers and David van Severen of OFFICE on the exhibition design

Co-curators Giovanna Borasi and Mirko Zardini present the exhibition.

Jonathan Hares presents the graphic design

Andy Byers talks about his paper animals

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Health is a focus of contemporary political debate in a moment of historically high anxiety, but are architects, urban designers and landscape architects seeking a new moral and political agenda within these concerns? Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture examines the complexity of today’s interrelated and emerging health problems juxtaposed with a variety of proposed architectural and urban solutions.

Pollen, pollution, toxic materials that make up the built environment, globalized industrial food production, reclaimed manufacturing landscapes, unbalanced population demographics, sedentary and indoor lifestyles, and efforts to fight death are becoming imperfect materials for architecture to explore. Emerging as trends like healthy cities, green buildings, fit cities, global cities, re-use cities, tailored cities, these strategies suggest inspired solutions, but could also address isolated concerns which privilege specific users or conditions. The focus on problems sometimes creates conflicting agendas and disregards the complexity of the urban fabric.

A book accompanying the exhibition and extending this research was published in Spring 2012 by CCA with Lars Müller. Edited by Mirko Zardini and Giovanna Borasi, it includes essays by Carla Keirns, David Gissen, Hilary Sample, Linda Pollak, Deane Simpson, Margaret Campbell, Sarah Schrank, and Nan Ellin.

Exhibition tours begin 29 October, 2011. Along with the exhibition, we are hosting special events like a screening of Safe (1995), and public programs like the Expert in the Library series, public workshops on contemporary health issues and the built environment entitled Are you allergic to the 21st century?, and a lecture series. An online TV channel accompanies the exhibition.

The research phase of the project was developed in collaboration with i2a, International Institute of Architecture, Vico Morcote, Switzerland.

Imperfect Health was voted the Exhibition of the Year in 2012 by Design Observer.


Giovanna Borasi & Mirko Zardini, Curators
OFFICE Kersten Geers and David van Severen, Exhibition design
Jonathan Hares, Graphic design