Date of Award

8-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Architecture

Major

Architecture

Major Professor

John M. McRae

Committee Members

Katherine Ambroziak, Mary Beth Robinson

Abstract

In this thesis, I argue for a place where people can go to regain perspective, and to reevaluate their interactions, both with other people and their environment. This proposal explores ways in which architectural design creates a setting where the built environment is intrinsically connected to systems and forms of the natural environment. The design project consists of a facility in McLean, Virginia, just west of Washington, DC, on the southern bank of the Potomac River, for the temporary stay of people suffering from depression: who feel alienated in a world full of connections. Cases of depression are higher than one might imagine and traverse all socio-economic levels; money cannot buy meaningful connections. The effects of depression on society, including decline in productivity, are problems that architecture can address with meaningful spaces where people can begin to heal. The relationships between people and place are incorporated into the design of this facility, where the connection to nature, which is a deliberately blurred relationship between indoor and outdoor, initiates a process of healing, allowing the guests to take back their lives and re-connect to the world.

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