Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Sanctity of Home

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posted on 2022-04-12, 00:51 authored by Mehmel, Tamsin

Today sees a global increase in anxiety disorders, from which work-related generalised anxiety disorder largely contributes to. Work-related anxiety is defined as anxiety that is caused by work related stressors experienced for over a six-month period that impact everyday functions. As a result of the extent of anxiety disorders in the workforce, more commercial architecture is currently being developed in recognition of needing a psychological relief; there is however, little research interest regarding residential architecture in the field of therapy.

This research advocates for the role of residential architecture as a retreat, a primary place for psychological relief from work-related stressors. It will do so optimistically and in a particular way reacting to research that suggests a sculptural approach to interior architecture can be used as spatial therapy. Sculptural architecture approaches design through psychology, ergonomics, and spirituality, which may be achieved through the careful study and use of light, form, materiality, and symbolism.

This research acts as a framework for design explorations. Following a theoretical basis, initial ideas are first tested on full-time workers in the setting of an art installation exhibition. The interactions and emotional responses from the exhibition participants are analysed for the researcher to then develop a series of informed site-specific design decisions and a framework for further conceptual development.

This research endeavours to challenge the conventional practice of residential interiors by firstly focussing on form and atmosphere, and seeking spiritual precedents, to reiterate home as a spiritual retreat. Secondly, it offers a niche in the interior architecture discipline that integrates the roles of architects and sculptors.

As a result, this design-led research celebrates sculptural influences in the realm of interior architecture to reduce work-related anxiety symptoms by creating a sanctuary at home.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Interior Architecture

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Interior Architecture

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

3 Applied research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Campays, Philippe