By: Hanan Rawashdeh
To design a reflective space for young people can be somewhat tricky. One must take into account how the young user will perceive and interact with the space. And before anything answer the question of how the age group reflects?
Pinpointing a single method for self-reflection is a far stretch of reality, as this age group differs highly in their mentality, acceptance and perception of their surroundings throughout these years. It is also out of the question to try to mimic what would be a reflective space for adults ‘use to find comfort. When looking at the strategies of that age resort to in finding inner peace one finds that there is a wide variation from listening to music, reading, isolating themselves, making art, sports, creating imaginary friends or living in the digital world… etc.
The base of creating a simulating and reflective spaces usually interacts with the senses:
It can be from certain plants, trees that bloom at a certain time of the year and give a pleasant fragrance, such examples are used in health care centers and hospitals. It can also be from the cafeteria, from certain cooking equipment connected to ducts.
Like the example of musical steps music can be incorporated and installed in architecture. Other natural elements that are calming can also be used like the sound of water, placing a water wall or letting a small stream run through a certain area.
To create visual legibility at some times and other times there is no visually accessibility this creates curiosity and change in patters (Dynamic barriers) The pleasant view of green spaces intertwined with functions has also been proved to have a positive attitude impact on users.
By using a variety of materials from rough to smooth also the temperature of the material itself can be a stimulator (creating contrast) the installment of easy tempered materials and placing them in a place where direct sunlight is.
Having said that, the equation of creating a reflective space isn’t that simple. Kevin Lynch stated in his book “City Sense and City Design” : Most environments, however, no matter how stimulating initially, become dull and even “invisible” with repeated experience. In conclusion there doesn’t really need to be a specially defined reflective space which is marked and only functions as a reflective space. The opportunity to make any daily used average space and incorporate it in a stimulating indirect self-reflecting program that is changeable will be the most successful approach.
Installed architecture has been used many times for studying human behavior and interaction. A simple installation such as placing piano keys on stairs for a subway to encourage people to use them was tested. When people realized that when stepping on the stairs music would emit more and more people used the stairs. A simple change in an ordinary daily used element resulted in massive change of behavior. To have more than one Stimulating point for a young users to go through just while proceeding his or her daily routine can accumulate and change the mentality and emotion.. Small shocks of simulative interaction, one after the other will disorient the way of thinking into a direction of that simulator, which is in this case reflectivity. This shows that architecture doesn’t necessarily need to be created from scratch to effect and create a reflective space but can be incorporated into our daily lives.