Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]


Interior Architecture

First Advisor

Jonathan Bell

Second Advisor

Markus Berger

Third Advisor

Julia Bernert


Seventy-five percent of India’s population is rural. Of those rural citizens, almost nine out of ten lack access to adequate health facilities. While the existing composition of any village in India is housing, temple, and agriculture, the physical well-being of residents has no home. When the local government builds a new isolated healthcare center, these disconnected centers become deserted and a place of unhealthy activity.

How do you effectively embed a new spatial intervention within an existing system of the village that supports health, rather than extending the boundaries of the village into sprawl? Historical study of medical practice in India establishes a relationship between religion and medicine, where temples had multifaceted roles, housing not only belief but also meeting civic needs Based on this research, a design framework is established that weaves both spiritual and physical wellness. This melding of both makes the intervention viable and responding to the village community. By mapping the medical desert in the state of Tamil Nadu, a typical village without healthcare access is chosen to demonstrate these ideas. The 11th-century temple in this village has been barricaded from community use in an effort at conservation, but it will be brought to life by meeting the village’s health needs.

The design proposes reconnection of the rural temple ground while rethinking rural healthcare delivery system. This is achieved by blurring the boundaries between sacred and social spaces and revealing historic elements through establishing a strong physical connection from the ancient site to new program. By reimagining community health center design through adoption of vernacular techniques and principles of temple architecture, a subterranean health center becomes a viable option to resolve issues with preservation of the temple complex. In total, the design concept offers primary holistic wellness for a remote village through integration of functional and symbolic layers.


View exhibition online: Mahasweta Jayachandran, Woven Healing



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