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Title: Laurentian University habitat for holistic healing and wellness: growing spaces for fostering a culture of ritualistic self-care
Authors: McMillan, Shannon
Keywords: architecture;habitat;holistic;mental health;wellness;material culture;tea;ingredients
Issue Date: 3-Sep-2019
Abstract: If the built environment can affect wellbeing, could a design approach that is centered around fostering reflective lifestyle habits in post-secondary student wellness centers improve the cultural perception of spaces for mental health?In health, “mind and body dualism represents the metaphysical stance that mind and body are two distinct substances, each with a different essential nature.” 1 This frame of mind has distracted academic “focus away from the dynamic nature of human beings, [and] their relationship with the environment.”2 Contrary to mind-body dualism, this thesis argues that the built environment plays an intrinsic role in holistic wellbeing. Historically places for mental health have been about isolation away from society, and there is still an element of stigma or shame that shrouds these spaces. Contemporary society is at the crux of a cultural shift which hopes to see mental health maintenance as a fundamental element of holistic health. Architecture can mediate and promote this shift by providing spaces which, contrary to asylums or psychiatric offi ces, empower those struggling with their mental wellbeing.3 Employing an approach called the ‘measure-free recipe’ methodology, this thesis proposal endeavors to curate texture, path, context and light; tactfully manage concepts of self, control, security and time; and architecturally manifest an environment which would promote phenomenological experiences of empowerment, curiosity, comfort and decompression. Development of the ‘measure-free recipe’ derives from a review of atmospheres which have negatively impacted cultural perception of holistic health, in comparison to phenomenologically positive atmospheres. Details of this approach will be further articulated later in the text. Importantly, the design of the Laurentian University Habitat for Holistic Healing and Wellbeing serves as the first ‘measure-free recipe’ taste test for growing spaces which foster ritualistic self-care.
Appears in Collections:Architecture - Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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