For the past semester, I have researched and soul-searched, looking to find a topic for my fifth year independent project. This project (Spring 2017) is supposed to combine my passions, be innovative, challenge me architecturally and intellectually, and be unique and original. Quite a demanding prompt for some fourth year juggling four classes, leadership positions, and two jobs. Not to mention, I wasn't really sure what my architectural passions were, except for the vague topic of psychology of design related to healthcare facilities. In the past four months of research, writing, reading, and discussion, I have finally discovered a topic that intrigues me and makes me desperate for answers. My independent project proposal is to study Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in post-combat military veterans and speculate as to how we as American architects can better provide a build environment that serves our military heroes. With a battle as personal and vital as PTSD, we must challenge the conventions of architecture in order to best take care of those who gave everything to protect us. As an industry, we can change to provide better spaces for the success of mental health treatment. It is my personal mission through my summer research (in part as intern with Westlake Reed Leskosky) and semester design project to challenge convention and imagine those spaces where veterans can find peace and healing.
Independent Project: Therapeutic Spaces for Post-Combat Veterans
I first came to discover my interest in psychology of design in the course Human Factors in Architecture. Combining my interests in human centered design with the intended audience of veterans, I hope to complete an independent project which will serve as starting point for a career in innovative healthcare design.