Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]
Eduardo Benamor Duarte
This thesis addresses the mental health crisis among college students by proposing an alternative, demonstrated through an adaptive reuse of the psychological counseling center at the Rhode Island School of Design. The existing design of many campus mental health spaces falls short in addressing the psychological needs of students. The aim of this thesis is to propose a solution by redesigning an existing space that caters to the requirements of students' mental health, through the manipulation of lighting, color, layout, acoustics, and materials to address individual sensory issues. Based on the limitations of the existing conditions of the RISD mental health facility, such as its location completely in the city center and the lack of any natural environment in the surrounding area, insufficient natural light in the indoor space, and the absence of functional spaces for psychological services, I want to adaptively reuse the original space to create an immersive space that better meets the psychological needs of students. After researching different programs that can help people relax psychologically and analyzing the opportunities and limitations of the original site, I have decided to add two more floors to the original one-story Psychological Services Center to accommodate new programs, and shift this three-story volume to the top of the building. This way, I can improve the lighting conditions by installing skylights. For the interior design, I propose to add a lounge in the central area of the space as a decompression space, integrating natural elements into the design to create a calming atmosphere, while the remaining space is primarily dedicated to psychological counseling rooms and the new programs. As for the exterior intervention, I suggest enhancing the natural environment by adding a greenhouse to increase the amount of natural light in the indoor space and provide a space for people to connect with nature. This greenhouse space could extend up to the rooftop garden, creating a sense of continuity across all three floors of the building. Overall, the thesis provides valuable insights into the causes of student anxiety and the potential for adaptive reuse of campus buildings to create a more relaxing environment for students. These findings can be used to inform future campus design and planning efforts aimed at reducing student stress and promoting well-being
Zou, Dici, "Finding Psychological Healing in College Settings" (2023). Masters Theses. 1169.
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