Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]
Academics often overlook the importance of a balanced life and even encourage a competitive work environment. However, life balance, health and mental wellness have strong influence on academic performance, social relationships and even life satisfaction. Working environments matter, too: lack of natural light and ventilation, noise and lack of privacy often contribute to elevated levels of stress, anxiety and depression. In the case of students from the Rhode Island School of Design, most devote almost all time to work without satisfying the body’s need for rest. However, studios do not integrate spaces for relaxing, resting and refreshing and do not fulfill students’ physical and mental health needs. To address this problem, it is necessary to have a dedicated space that offers wellness in terms of spatial characteristics as well as program in order to support balance within the RISD campus.
Many universities in the US have developed student wellness centers to provide help through different kinds of programs, including student support service, stress reduction, mindfulness programs and a place for private moments such as meditation room and chapel, in order to enhance total wellness. RISD currently offers physical, mental and intercultural services; however, these do not cover all of the key aspects of wellness affecting RISD students. Moreover, the inconvenient and scattered locations of these services don’t provide adequate natural light, comfort or privacy, reducing the effectiveness of offerings. What qualities of space engender wellness and how can we present wellness in architecture through a new student wellness center within the RISD campus?
Located at the center of campus, the 15 Westminster building is a good place to have a one-stop student wellness center within the RISD campus. Students live, visit and pass around this prominent building everyday, so RISD students who have limited time do not need to struggle to get to the wellness center. The RISD studen t wellness center will offer various spaces including an indoor running track, student lounge, rooftop garden and non-denominational worship space on the penthouse floor. Counseling rooms and group activity space will be placed on the mezzanine floor so that RISD students can ease their exhausted bodies and minds in a variety of ways. Furthermore, these spaces are well connected and will provide essential qualities of space such as plenty of natural light, high ceiling and a lively atmosphere. This thesis proposes a new student wellness center in which essential health and wellness resources are brought together under a single roof, highlighting the uniqueness of the RISD campus through the juxtaposition of an existing building with a floating addition in the sky.
Kang, Kyunghwa, "Wellness within reach : life / work balance within the RISD campus" (2017). Masters Theses. 173.
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