Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]
How can architecture encourage focused attention and mindfulness in an increasingly distracted and distractible world? As a primary means of connectivity in the 21st century, smartphones and social media have provided unparalleled efficiencies, connectivity and entertainment. However, constant engagement with richly-pixelated virtual worlds has also brought about mass addiction to devices as college students log more compulsive “screen time” than ever before. Mental health issues such as crippling anxiety, diminished attention spans, and unhappiness, are on the rise as students disconnect from the physical world and are consumed by their virtual one.
This thesis is comprised of a series of architectural interventions created for unplugging and reconnecting the body with the physical world: analog spaces that prioritize attentiveness and consciousness over instant gratification and compulsion. As concentrated sensory environments, these retreats from technology exist to reintroduce awareness into everyday life and quiet hyperstimulated minds.
Taking the Merchants Bank Building in Providence, Rhode Island, as a model location to demonstrate these concepts, this thesis demonstrates the power of mindfulness in everyday life. As a building that has historically worked to serve capitalistic and transactional goals at the juncture of downtown and major universities, the architectural interventions work to bring mindfulness to students who would otherwise pass unconsciously through this liminal space between academia and commerce.
Through framing and magnifying meaningful aspects of the local environment (e.g. human connections, high-rise silhouettes, bodies of water, natural and artificial light, earth, and the sky) while softening peripheral stimuli with architectural filters and barriers, these mindful exercises in observing and participating serve as powerful aids for achieving a healthier mind, body, and life. While existential threats loom in today’s world, ranging from systemic inequalities and a worldwide pandemic to war abroad and global warming, the inward pursuit of mindfulness serves as an accessible yet imperative aid in healing not only individual minds and communities, but these large-scale issues.
Roseman, E. J., "Re:Connection: exercises in unplugging and mindfully reconnecting" (2022). Masters Theses. 974.
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