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Anybody there: Asylum photos by Dan Raven.

Photos: Dan Raven.

Not so long ago, there were special buildings where they took you if you lost your mind. Asylums, as they were known, were usually hidden from society – remote and secluded. They served to hide a problem on society’s behalf as much as to deal with it.

The idea was to protect both patients and society from the effects of mental illness by looking after the sufferers in a secure institution, with specialist medical help. But often, asylums did more damage than good. In the UK and other countries, asylums were generally closed a couple of decades ago, in favour of care, or sometimes lack of it, in the community.

The photographer, Dan Raven, recently came across an abandoned asylum that inspired him to search for others. His photos give us a faded glimpse of life inside such institutions. Read more

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Halfway housing: A renovation of a Modernist Classic.

They became instantly iconic when Dutch architect Piet Blom’s Cube Houses were completed in Rotterdam in 1984. With 38 small cubes and two so called super-cubes, they have become a much loved feature of the city, and have been in constant occupation since completion.

Recently, the buildings have enjoyed a top to bottom renovation and are once again are looking splendid. Read more

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The colourful voice of Istanbul.

Most protest movements that survive the early indignation of the establishment, become the establishment. Some so called “street artists” or “graffiti artists” now command six or seven figure sums for their works that hang in international galleries. Arguably, such artists have been neutered.

But in a poetic subversion of art, Huseyin Cetinel, a retired forestry engineer, painted the Findikli stairs in Istanbul in rainbow colours, but he soon found the people of the city was using his idea as a voice for protest against the authorities. Read more

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Student swinging: A small house by Tengbom Architects.

In the normal scale of things 10 square metres does not constitute a place to live, unless you are a dog that is. But if you are a Swedish student, thanks to some very clever work from Tengbom Architects, 10, beautifully designed, square meters is what you might get.

Living in a cross between a kennel and a detached house, kitted out with all mod-cons, you will have to be very creative if you are going to rip-roar your way through university living in a place like this. There will certainly be no swinging, or keeping of cats. Read more

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CAPTURE: an exhibition by Paul Cocksedge.

The British designer of this light fitting, Paul Cocksedge, has captured a moment of disbelief with his playful use of scale. “Is that really the correct size of the fitting?” the casual observer might ask.

Well yes it is! Read more

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