Color portrait of the head and shoulders of David Serlin wearing glasses and smiling

David Serlin

Arnold W. Brunner/Katherine Edwards Gordon/Frances Barker Tracy Rome Prize
gennaio 11–agosto 6, 2021
Profession
Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of California, San Diego
Project title
Sensory Design and Architectural Empathy in the “Progetto Ophelia”
Project description

The Progetto Ophelia (Ophelia Project), a psychiatric hospital and residential complex in Potenza designed in 1905 by Giuseppe Quaroni and Marcello Piacentini, was an unprecedented example of empathic design for people with physical and cognitive differences decades ahead of its time. Quaroni and Piacentini deployed light, air, sound, smell, and touch to create immersive environmental experiences for patients including dark hallways that attempted to spatially approximate the individual journey of psychoanalysis. During my fellowship year, I will examine the Progetto Ophelia in relation to architectural sites of Italian disability history, such as the Ospedale di Santo Spirito in Rome, but also as a forerunner of contemporary projects, such as the Centro Diurno per Disabili in Seregno, Lombardy, that engage multisensory and empathic design elements to innovate architectures of disability for the twenty-first century.