A physical place for those with mental illness must be reevaluated, as the approach of society today does not respond inclusively to those that “don’t belong”. There is a need for a community where such a place can exist within the urban context without being seen as an “institution”, but rather as a place to belong to or that is familiar. In recent years, North America has seen a significant decline in mental health, long before the Covid Pandemic. Although we try to discuss this issue with an open mind, old stereotypes are difficult to shed and attitudes are slow to change, especially in North America.
One can look to some wonderful examples in the Nordic countries where its built form for the User has been evaluated and successful principles concluded, as they relate to the fostering of the internal environment. However, there is a lack of approach or emphasis on the external environment, the Subgroup (the community), and how these built forms are integrated. There is a need for such a place to coexist with the urban context, without being seen as an “institution” that reinforces old stereotypes, but rather an important place that is an integrated part of the community it resides in.
The intent is to provide a built form that can assist in providing healthy environments and programs for the User (patient) and the Subgroup (adjacent community) as a whole. This is an exploration of how architecture can assist in the dissolving of stigmas and stereotypes by applying modern principles that are successful as they relate to the User, yet also demonstrate an approach on how this User can be welcomed, fostered, and an integral part of our lives. By normalizing those interactions and permitting the User to have control and leadership, we can begin to achieve united health and happiness.
the Subgroup (adjacent community) and its impact on, and connection with, the internal environment and User (the patient).
internal environment and its impact on the User (patient).
connection to the outdoor environment and its impact on the User.
Mental health disorder affects 15% of adults aged 60 and over. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common occurring disorders.
Covid 19 pandemic has far shed light on the issues that exist in our society when it comes to our seniors. Several approaches must be modified, not only regarding the effects of a virus pandemic on seniors in a physical sense, but the isolation and decline in mental health by our aging communing long before the pandemic.
Our society does not celebrate our aging population and building designs of this program are outdate and templated. Locations of the buildings are for developers’ convenience rather than consideration of the seniors and how the residence can be integrated into a community.
This research begins to examine how we can first begin to incorporate senior programs within the surrounding community. The type of programs that could help activate it and incorporate it. Location of the building within the master plan, massing, orientation and services within the building that will bring draw in the surrounding community and the services outside the building for the residence. Second, how to relieve isolation and improve mental health within the program itself. For example, incorporating a childcare program within the building. Providing communal spaces that can also be accessed by the community, views from floors to floors and connection with nature.