Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Rehab: Recovery through atmospheric designed environments

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posted on 2022-07-28, 04:42 authored by Yung, Gordon

The design of new healthcare environments in architecture are challenging the historical model of a centralized hospital typology. This has resulted in the establishment of public and private institutions which aim to offer a more personal service to their patients. This thesis questions: how can we design environments, to create a closer connection between people and place? and how can this design-research improve the relationship between patients and their social and physical environments, to further facilitate the rehabilitation process of spinal and brain injuries? This proposition led to an evolving design methodology that was developed through three distinct design phases, in order to understand the premise of atmosphere and its relationship with architecture. The first engaging with conceptual methods of design testing, all of which were analogue in their exploration and representation of atmosphere. The second bought focus to site and the establishment of place, through the act of form making and exterior relationships. Finally, the third design phase critically engaged with the learnings of the previous two phases, where the design process bought awareness to the reciprocal and sensitive relationship between the interior spaces and exterior landscape. This involved the final iteration being designed from inside to outside, as a method of facilitating patient recovery and rehabilitation. The result of this final design exploration is a building which connects people and place through a focus on thresholds and intimacy.

In conclusion this thesis argues that creating atmospheric architecture provides the potential for the patients to engage with their environment - to support their wellbeing – by connecting them through the scale and atmosphere of the domestic.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Smitheram, Jan