Once again I find myself in an insane asylum… Does anyone else begin to see a pattern here? :-)
vast neotraditional ensemble was built in the 1920’s as a neuro-psychiatric
hospital and consists of several pavilions in the northern part of the park
surrounding the castle de Spoelbergh. The pavilions are separated by a
rectilinear pattern of alleys, a remainder of the original 19th century
landscaping of the castle park. After Karel de Spoelbergh died in 1907 without
descendants, the castle and park became the property of the nearby university.
It was given in leasehold to the Sisters of Charity to establish an insane
asylum. The clinic became part of the university psychiatric department until
the several divisions were divided over different hospitals by the end of the
1990’s. The last pavilion was closed in 2007. The pavilions all have a H-shaped
plan. They are functional, brick constructions of two to three floors with mostly saddle and
shield roofs. The
site is momentarily under renovation and is being developed into a housing
project. The work on some of the pavilions has already been finished and they
are now inhabited by young families. This particular pavilion, Saint-Cecile, is
the last building that is still in a state of decay.
Standing at the top of a hill in a forested area near the centre of Volterra, Italy, stands this decaying psychiatric hospital. Once housing over 6,000 patients, this building now contains only empty beds, abandoned wheelchairs, and graffiti. It was once dubbed “the place of no return” because it was said that once you were sent to Ospedale Psichiatrico di Volterra, you never returned home.
It was rife with physical and mental abuse and was infamous for its use of electroshock therapy as well as the grim practice of inducement of comas with insulin. Patients were often sedated, isolated from others and frequently chained to their beds. Patients would also be forced to spend prolonged periods of times in freezing cold baths. Letters and gifts from the patient’s family members on the outside were confiscated so that the patients had a true sense of isolation.
It was eventually closed down in 1978 after the practices used within the walls were deemed as cruel.
Decay at its best inside an abandoned Ontario institution.
This is what gets me excited about exploring abandoned buildings, the promise of natural decay as a building slowly rots away due to the elements. Seeing all the different layers of material on the walls slowly falling off as water intrudes through the roof of the building, it’s a sight to be seen. In the upper right hand corner of the image you can see the last remaining layer, the brickwork, has slowly been exposed over the years. It also helps when you have great light to create the right mood for the scene. Ontario, Canada.