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    Architecture, psychiatry, and Lebensreform at an agricultural colony of the insane - lower Austria, 1903

    Topp, Leslie and Wieber, S. (2009) Architecture, psychiatry, and Lebensreform at an agricultural colony of the insane - lower Austria, 1903. Central Europe 7 (2), pp. 125-149. ISSN 1479-0963.

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    Abstract

    In 1899, the Haschhof Agricultural Colony was established on a hilltop as a satellite of the Provincial Insane Asylum at Kierling-Gugging near Klosterneuburg. At the Haschhof, patients and nurses lived in adapted buildings from a previously existing agricultural estate until a striking villa, designed by the architect Erich Gschöpf, opened in 1902. Using as a starting point the descriptions of the colony in the press as well as original photographs, this essay asks how contemporaries understood the Haschhof, and how psychiatrists wished it to be received and understood. It explores for the first time the history of the colony at the Haschhof and contextualizes its carefully conceived architecture, picturesque rural setting, paternalism, and agricultural work within larger psychiatric and cultural discourses. It is argued that the villa's architecture, as well as elements in the presentation and reception of both Kierling-Gugging and the Haschhof colony as a whole, contained allusions to contemporary German and Austrian Lebensreform. Although heterogeneous and often divergent in their ideologies and manifestations, late nineteenth-century Lebensreform movements and some of the more progressive reform impulses within Austria's Irrenpflege shared an idealistic belief in the curative potential of the land and labour. Yet, despite some strong superficial similarities between the two phenomena, on a deeper structural level, the Irrenkolonie and Lebensreform were fundamentally different. The Irrenkolonie operated from the top down, and embodied the vision of its founders and designers, which was then imposed on a passive, working-class, population. The Lebensreform settlements, on the other hand, were co-operative movements based on the equal participation of all its members, who were almost always middle class.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): psychiatry, Kierling-Gugging,; Fin-De-Siecle Austria, asylums, insanity, Lebensreform, architecture
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Arts > History of Art
    Research Centre: Architecture Space and Society Centre
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2013 07:40
    Last Modified: 07 Dec 2016 14:59
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/6238

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