Rheinau, Switzerland
Black and white photos

Tanja Boukal has won the “Art in Architecture” competition organized by the Zurich Canton Building Office for the redesign of the Tilia residential home. This residential home provides a loving environment and structured daily activities for 80 adults with various disabilities, including psychological, intellectual, and/or physical impairments.

The Canton of Zurich established a psychiatric care institution in the former Rheinau Abbey in 1867. Throughout the 20th century, the residential services were gradually reduced, and the Klosterinsel location was abandoned in 2000. Today, the Zurich University Hospital’s Psychiatric Clinic operates specialized services in forensic psychiatry and the Center for Integrative Psychiatry (ZIP) in Neu-Rheinau.

Part of this historic site is the Tilia residential home, which offers residents access to an adjacent garden area, an animal studio, a vegetable garden, and workshops for producing decorative and artisanal items. The aim is to create an organic and “natural” daily life routine that corresponds to the “family structure” within each living group.

Boukal’s project, called “TUN” (German for “to do” or “to act”), focuses on the residents’ independent actions. Its goal is to strengthen their confidence in their own abilities and promote self-esteem. Boukal spends several weeks on-site, accompanying the residents in their everyday lives. Only after becoming part of the community does she plan to capture the diverse activities and possibilities inherent in the residents’ hands through black-and-white photographs. The specific locations for her artistic interventions will be determined in close consultation with the participants, ensuring that they feel comfortable and respected in their familiar environment.

Potential sites for her artworks could include the entrance portal, the rear facade of the building, the staircase, or the communal room. However, the final decision on placements will only be made after Boukal’s stay on-site to ensure that the artworks can be harmoniously integrated into the environment and the residents’ daily lives.

“TUN” represents an authentic recognition of the individual abilities of people with disabilities and aims to create an artistic connection between art and the residents’ everyday lives. Through these interventions, the residential home becomes a place of expression, self-realization, and collective growth.