Architecture

Healing Through Architecture

May 28, 2015 |

HUMANS HAVE BEEN BUILDING SUSTAINABLE STRUCTURES SINCE AS FAR BACK AS 8,000 YEARS AGO AND THERE IS A LOT TO LEARN FROM OUR PAST STRATEGIES, AS THERE IS TO DISCOVER IN OUR NEW AND DEVELOPING TECHNOLOGIES

The principles of Vastu follow a science with deals with culture, technology, behavioural pattern and human psyche. Excellence in architecture can be achieved through these tenets, fostering health and healing with harmonious, well-balanced environments that reduce stress, capture the imagination and liberate vitality and creativity .T he 21st century is characterised by the exploration and adoption of alternative technologies needed in tackling and overcoming various environmental issues–global warming and the looming energy crisis prime among them–that have emerged because of the imbalances created by man between nature, material and man himself.

The blind adoption of modern technology has proved to be a sin whose consequences humanity faces each day. To fulfi l our demands–for more products and more energy, we have set up more industries, and production chains that take from nature and give pollution and degradation back to her. For a long time, little thought was given to the fumes, gases and wastes produced by factories and industries as they produced consumer products to make human lives more comfortable.

Humans have become comfort addicts with comfort becoming a necessity, our very mode of living. We never pause to think about the sources of energy that are being depleted for our ease and pleasure. To make ourselves more comfortable, we live in artifi cial environments which contribute to the pollution and degradation of the environment–our land, water bodies and atmosphere. The imbalances between man, material and nature are palpable in our time and it is in such a scenario that various novel techniques to overcome this imbalance are being planned and implemented in architecture as well.

In the architectural field, more and more professionals are looking to find suitable techniques to conserve sources of energy. While in the ancient days, people used to build structures based on culture, climate and observation, today, almost all building designs are paralysed by artificial technology which takes a toll on the environment. Recent attempts at finding techniques to construct energy-efficient buildings involve doing so through modern


architectural planning, landscaping or material selection of building construction. Almost everyone is looking to come up with a new solution. No one seems to think about utilising the ancient techniques from which new technologies have originated.

Architecture is connected to engineering and science, as well as to human art, in the forms of poetry, geometry, art science.It’s a connection between the mind and the soul, not an abstraction which acts as healing. Healing is about integrity. Spaces should be designed in such a way that they imbue

a sense of belonging and emanate peaceful tranquillity into the atmosphere. It is then than our bodies can feel relaxed and start to rejuvenate and give us the sort of energy we need to work well.

Adopting ancient technologies can create a balance between nature and material. This doesn’t mean that we have to blindly adopt ancient techniques of construction, but we can definitely follow planning guidelines in order to construct built forms.

As the DAC & CITIES website–a collection of the Danish Architecture Centre’s offers related to the development of future cities and landscapes–points out in an article, humans have been building sustainable structures since as far back as 8,000 years ago. So there is a lot to learn much from our past strategies, as there is to discover in our new and developing technologies.

Vastu Shastra, Islamic Architecture and Feng Shui are ancient design principles. Vastu Shastra brings prosperity and happiness to the lives of people living in homes or working in offices which have been planned, designed and built according to its tenets. The adoption of old techniques and philosophies in contemporary architectural design can bring a dynamic revolution in the field of design. Vastu Shastra design principles help trap positive energies inside buildings and discard negative energies present within built environments.

Its implementation helps create a healing space that contributes to the health, wisdom and wealth of the people who live and work in these spaces. Vastu deals with positive and negatives energies within built environments.

Vastu Shastra is a science that plays an important role in helping overcome problems in built environments through site selection, architectural planning, landscaping, building orientation, selection of construction material, building height, room placement as well as room interiors including wall finishes, furniture placement, colour scheme and floor material, among other things.

Different ideologies are being implemented these days to make room for healing spaces. Architectural design can act as a healing tool which can be achieved through proper planning from the macro- to micro-levels. Spaces within buildings must provide privacy and dignity so as to create stress-free environments.

Recent attempts at finding techniques to construct more energy-ef?cient buildings involve doing so through modern architectural planning, landscaping or material selection of building construction. Almost everyone is looking to come up with a new solution. No one seems to be thinking about utilising the ancient techniques from which new technologies have originated

Alex Stark, a contemporary geomancer and feng shui practitioner based in York, details the characteristics of spaces that affect the healing process in his booklet, “Buildings that Heal”. Some of the building and living space elements he comments on include:

  • Therapeutic outdoor courtyards
  • Room sizes which affect socialisation
  • Window openings that affect outcomes
  • Healing gardens and spiritual spaces
  • Optimum height of buildings that create a healing balance between privacy and observation, relaxation and work, cool materials and warm tones.
  • Lobbies and foyers need to be cheerful and welcoming and should be generously proportioned. Calming artwork and greenery must be installed. Lobbies should always include symbolic or metaphorical recognitions of the healing process: waterfalls, foundations, sculptures, ? replaces or gardens. In situations


where this is not possible, corridors must be widened and opened up by placing art or mirrors along the sides to make them feel more expansive. Staggered art or plants can also help. Corridors should be lighted as brightly as possible.

  • Main lobbies, elevator foyers and stair landings need to be generously proportioned, and should be open and cheerful. Wide, curved, graceful stairways opening onto wide landings are best.
  • Spiral stairs and stairs that point directly towards the entrance door should be avoided. • Layouts with sharp corners, angled walls or entries, and irregular geometries should be avoided.
  • Provision of generous solar access should be provided.
  • The structure should be potentially expressive or symbolic emblematic of public ideals, vision, shared beliefs.
  • Scale of building should be broken down to a series of pavilions on a residential scale.
  • Idea of living architecture should be incorporated.
  • Good interior spaces to help reduce stress levels. These can be achieved through proper layout and smooth flow of vital energy. Positive energy needs to be captured and brought into buildings in order to nourish functions. Energy is captured primarily via openings–doors, windows etc.
  • Inter-connective spaces such as corridors should be free. Energy moves along corridors and elevators. It is important to avoid congestion, turns and twists in corridors and hallways.

Incorporating Vastu Shastra in building design can act as a catalyst for the healing process. The mind and the body respond to their direct environment perceiving and reacting to both their physical and emotional surroundings. Many studies have shown that features of built environments such as abundant natural light,


Vastu is regaining popularity in India and gaining many followers abroad as well. Its significant scientific reasoning cannot be denied. The principles of Vastu follow a science with deals with culture, technology, behavioural pattern and human psyche. Excellence in architecture can be achieved through these tents, fostering health and healing with harmonious, well-balanced environments that reduce stress, capture the imagination and liberate vitality and creativity, all of which enhance healing. Vastu Shastra is one very effective tool that offers a conceptual and methodological approach to design.

exposure to fresh air and contact with the natural outdoors have substantial positive effects on healing. Building features that help to heal are also fairly sustainable and can have energy-saving benefits. They also have a lower impact on surrounding ecosystems.

 


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