Over the course of the fall semester, along with our integrated studio and structure courses, we also take a research methods course which is meant to prepare us for our thesis studio course in the following spring. By the end of the semester we will have the first three chapters of our thesis book completed, which includes: the introduction to the research, site analysis, case studies, program analysis, and preliminary design solutions. I will admit, it’s a lot to take on. That’s what you sign up for when it’s a fifteen month program though, right? I honestly appreciate the push to get a head start on the thesis rather than spending the first two months of spring semester on research, now we can (hopefully) jump into the design portion. However, my journey through the thesis selection has been a struggle. Thus far I have written two blogs on my thesis because I have changed it twice. I began with a hotel casino project that focused on the psychology of design, but quickly learned that just wasn’t interesting enough to take on for seven months. The second option was a low-rise high-density residential housing complex in an urban fabric, which was very relevant to current architecture issues with economy, sustainability, and social interaction, but I felt unattached to the topic. So, two weeks later there I was in need of the names of my thesis committee members with no thesis to propose to them. It took one conversation with a professor to realize what I needed to do, rehabilitation.
Now here I sit, in studio at 6 am, playing catch up on my thesis chapters, and enjoying it. My official thesis proposal will focus on the research of the integration of the environment and family into the rehabilitation of children with special needs.
This concept is not new to me, I am actually all too familiar with the process, but only from the outside. At a young age my younger sister came down with an illness that left her paralyzed from the waist down. I have been to a fair share of rehab sessions, or I went for the long ride to the hospital and watched a lot of TV with my mom and dad in the waiting room. I believe the integration of the family in rehabilitation is extremely important, so much is lost in the transition from hospital to home. Children resist therapy at home, parents are not therapists, and so being a part of the therapy process needs to start in the actual sessions. The proposal will integrate spaces for family therapies along with typical exercise spaces. The environment can also play a vital part in the healing process, so outdoor therapy spaces will also be a priority in the program. I am looking forward to what my research surfaces in these concepts!
The third time’s a charm! Is it spring yet?