The Art of Caring

Mindfulness As Respite Render Landscape
Site 1: Mindfulness as Respite

This thesis originated through my recognition of the immeasurable importance of engagement with reflective thought and mindfulness for positive mental health, cognitive tolerance and general happiness with the everyday - conditions hindered by modern society's notions of rush and judgement.

As fabricators of the world with which we engage, architects should ensure they consider care, respect and above all else, empathy for the buildings they design to provide occupant wellbeing.

Might we design spaces for psychological wellbeing that encourage engagement with mindfulness? Architecture has the potential to both enact and inspire involvement with reflective thought through its spatial variation and emotive influence. However, with this potential still insufficiently recognised in New Zealand, so too are the public spaces required for practicing mindfulness.

Carissa Pickett Qualities Long
Mindfulness translated into architectural qualities

In response, this thesis demonstrates and advocates for architecture's capacity to improve psychological and physical wellbeing through the design of two architectural interventions at Auckland City Hospital to encourage engagement with mindfulness. The two separate sites, which explore different forms of the technique, come together to demonstrate how they may benefit staff in a light-hearted, everyday approach, as well as providing respite, therapy and emotional comfort for patients and their loved ones during times of extreme emotional pain.

Mindfulness As Routine Render Landscape
Site 2: Mindfulness as routine
Interaction Render
Staff interaction space
Threshold Render
The threshold and entry into the oncology waiting room.

The decision to intervene within the hospital context propels the potential psychological benefit of this theoretical programme into one that parallels and complements the physical healing provided by the hospital. It also acknowledges the controversial issues surrounding public hospital design and provides an example of possible improvements.

Due to its emotionally significant context, this thesis and its design purposefully apply care and consideration to every design decision made. Above all, it is as an example of an architecture that advocates for the need to care, not to cure.1

1. McKee and Healy, "The role of the hospital in a changing environment," 805

Carissa Pickett First Floor Plan
Site 1: Mindfulness as respite, first floor plan
Carissa Pickett Elevation 1
Site 1: Mindfulness as respite elevation
Carissa Pickett Elevation 2
Site 2: Mindfulness as routine elevation