Date of Award

Spring 6-2-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]


Interior Architecture

First Advisor

Markus Berger

Second Advisor

Stefano Corbo

Third Advisor

Jongwan Kwon


The built environment affects us on an emotional and psychological level; architecture can be as calming as meditation. Architecturally-induced contemplative states allow inhabitants to experience the benefits of meditation through space. Emotional well-being is essential to personal development and integral to the creative process. The Rhode Island School of Design campus currently offers counseling and psychological services for student and faculty. What is not offered is a space for students and faculty to seek inner peace in a relaxed way. In order to support the RISD community by creating a place for people to promote mental health in a consistent daily way, Memorial Hall, positioned in the central campus core, will become a contemplative atrium supporting architecturally-induced contemplative states by revealing aspects of the building’s aura.

Aura is a special characteristic held by some architecture that can strengthen personal connections between space and visitors and encourage a spiritual experience. Aura, or the being of a place, can be revealed via respect for aspects of a site’s past, through layering of physical changes to the structure over time, or palimpsest. The unique aspects of the place create a nuanced impression, shifting with each visit, even if the architecture remains unchanged.

Memorial Hall, former a place of worship, holds the spirituality of inner peace and already has a strong hidden aura. Currently used as a painting studio, this thesis proposes to reveal the hidden aura of Memorial Hall. Just as aura is something that brings human emotion into close contact with architecture, contemplative space is somewhere for people to understand how they fit in the universe. The intervention programs will be based on 3 types of meditation that provide spaces of focused attention, open monitoring and loving-kindness to embody a new approach: addressing mental health issues before they arise through exposure to architecture design to calm and focus the mind.



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