Mental, physiological, and social health are all intertwined threads of happiness in everyone’s life. Mental health, in particular, is critical to human resilience because it allows people to reach their potential, cope with everyday challenges, work efficiently, and contribute to their communities. Unfortunately, mental illnesses have long been associated with shame. Although the world has long strived to comprehend, detect, and treat mental diseases, the quality of mental health facilities and treatments remains significantly behind that of other medical areas. Every year, 703 000 individuals commit suicide, which excludes many more who attempt to commit suicide. Every suicide is a tragedy that impacts whole families, towns, and nations, as well as the people who are left behind. Suicide affects all people irrespective of age, and was the world’s fourth-biggest cause of mortality among 15-29 year-olds in 2019.

What is Healing Architecture?

The concept of “healing architecture” refers to the power of the built environment to influence a patient’s health and psychological well-being. Bright rooms, natural light, large windows, local plant life, and outside vistas might help patients recuperate more quickly by providing them with a psychological and physical boost. Both healing and wellbeing can be rooted in architecture. The structures of our everyday life immediately impact our experience, whether they are moderating and minimizing disease spread or simply offering a calm area for comfort. Spaces are developed in emergency architecture to solve concerns of health and shelter. Architects have expanded their attention on mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing as they continue to rethink solutions for homes and fundamental human requirements. Therapeutic architecture may also be defined as a people-centered, evidence-based built environment field that seeks to find and develop strategies to include those spatial components into the design that interact with people physically and psychologically.

Architect’s Role: To Create Trauma-Informed Design

The purpose of trauma-informed design is to create physical settings that promote safety, well-being, and healing by incorporating the concepts of trauma-informed care into the design. This necessitates an understanding of how the physical environment influences identity, value, and dignity, as well as how it encourages empowerment. Safety, choice, cooperation, trustworthiness, and empowerment are the Five Guiding Principles of Trauma-Informed design.

Healing from these traumas is a process that needs a significant amount of work on the part of both the individual and everything and everyone around him/her. Victims of trauma are frequently urged to spend more time outside, embracing nature’s therapeutic effects. But what about the inside? Given that individuals currently spend about 90% of their time indoors, it is only logical that these environments aid in the healing process. And, while these places may be visually appealing with plenty of natural light and neutral color palettes, are they genuinely conducive to their mental health?

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Trauma informed design framework_©Shopworks Architecture Group, 14 Engineering, & University of Denver Center for Housing and Homelessness Research

Examples of healing spaces

Satori Harbor

In November 2020, Wutopia Lab built the Satori Harbor, a culturally significant library inside VIPshop’s new headquarters in Guangzhou, China. The word “Satori” was inspired by a notion from Master Zhuangzi’s ancient Chinese literature, which depicts a level of transcendence in Taoist practices when the dawn light beams across the entire planet. The architect imagined the library to be a microcosm of our earthly world—-an abstract harbor city. The design sought to bring viewers on a spiritual reading trip in which they would encounter moments of enlightenment and deliverance. Satori Harbor represents a moral setting for life practice.

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Satori harbor_©CreatAR Image

 Tongling Recluse, China

The design aims to excite tea drinkers’ desire to feel disconnected from the outside world, increasing the spatial experience of the tea room. The design developed a conversation between the inside and outdoor spaces. Traditional folding roofs and detachable streamlined space were combined, harmonizing with Chinese culture’s cosmology – “The Dao (Way) generates One (World), One produces Two (Yin-Yang)….” – From a bird’s eye view, the entire roof was covered with grey tiles, forming a distinctive shape that was not only spectacular, but also a confluence of the existing historic hamlet. This was the first time the interior and outdoor spaces mirrored each other.

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Tongling recluse_©Ting Xu
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Tongling recluse_©Ting Xu

Alzheimer’s Villa

NORD Architects has designed several dementia villages, including France’s first dementia care facility, the Alzheimer’s Village in Dax.NORD Architects considered individual residents, health care workers, and local culture and nature, so that everyone, from family to academics, will see individuals – including those with dementia – living in a dignified aging environment. A recognizable environment, devoid of alienating or obstructive features, is required for living a meaningful life. Alzheimer’s Village has incorporated familiar services within the complex, such as a grocer’s, a hairdresser’s, a restaurant, and a market square, that are evocative of the inhabitants’ past life in their neighborhoods, interactions with others, and leisure activities. When it comes to integrating the Alzheimer’s Village into the local environment and strengthening the feeling of continuity and cohesiveness across diverse life patterns, everyday ties between generations, institutions, and the town are critical.

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Alzeimer’s villa_©11h45

Architects must go through a detailed analysis of the environmental effects on social, physiological, and psychological human aspects to increase human performances. This would be realized through an interdisciplinary process between architecture and environmental psychology by understanding the health risks. In other words, these studies lead architects to understand the behavioral, psychological, and emotional users’ interactions in designing buildings. Moreover, the physical impact of the environment on the health of designing spaces reduces stress at healthcare facilities is visible.

Reference:

Healthcare Architecture | ArchDaily

Healing Architecture in China: Through a Sensorial and Spatial Experience | ArchDaily

Form Follows Feeling: Trauma-Informed Design and the Future of Interior Spaces | ArchDaily

Healing Architecture: Hospital Design And Patient Outcomes | SageGlass

How Do We Create Healing Spaces? – Metropolis (metropolismag.com)

Author

Srishti Dasgupta is currently pursuing Architecture from Mumbai University. Her passion for art initiated her interest in Architecture.The creative field also inspired her to explore various aspects of art and culture. She intends to keep capturing the rationalities of everyday world, integrated with the creative world through different mediums.

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