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Amanda Coulston

Amanda’s always been fascinated by design and the ability to transform spaces into beautiful experiences using a minimalist approach. As an interior design student, she understands how hard it can be to stay dedicated and work extremely hard, which is why she chose to create an environment where students can be productive while also focusing on human wellness. Her main objective was to combine innovative digital technology with natural elements in an interior space to obtain biophilia's benefits.

Project Overview

"The Unwind spot" is a student commons facility that will be used to enhance productivity and well-being for undergraduate and postgraduate students in college or university within the Greater Toronto Area. The purpose is to concentrate on the connection between students' mental health and cognitive performance with their physical environments. In Toronto, individuals have lost touch with nature as their lifestyles have become increasingly urbanized and reliant on digital technologies. The student commons will use a biophilic design strategy to allow users to engage with nature while also benefiting from its health benefits, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Central: The most frequently utilized area in the centre, which links to adjacent areas. Sightlines: Having a focal point that stands out and can be seen from all view points. Emphasis: The surrounding enclosed rooms will have a visual connection to the central space.  Click to enlarge

Focal Point.

Swatches of neutral colours and materials used in project.  Click to enlarge

Material Palette.

Concept/Design Process

This additional facility would be centred around students and promote mixed-use spaces for socializing, collaboration, independent study and rejuvenation. The main idea is to focus on the interaction of nature and digital technology, which will have an impact on the built environment and benefit its users. The Unwind Spot is supported by the concept of "focal point". Certain spaces will be classified as open, semi-private, or private, depending on their intended use; yet, they will still feel linked to their environment through a focal point. Each floor of the building will have a distinctive focal point with natural elements for users to experience. The focus points will either be the central area, creating emphasis or sightlines for adjacent areas.

Site Plan/Floor Plan(s)

The Unwind Spot will be located at 415 Eastern Avenue, Toronto, Ontario in the South Riverdale community. The building itself has 2 levels above grade and 1 below with approximately 15,000 SQ FT. A student commons facility will help this neighbourhood by bringing a nature experience into one of Toronto's industrialized streets. It will also connect to the city's surrounding lake and parks. It has its own parking lot on the south side with the main entrance fronting Eastern Avenue. The main floor features an open concept plan with a cafe/juice bar, as well as lounge and recreation areas. The second level has collaborative furnishings as well as private meeting room choices, while the basement is a separate study area with rejuvenation areas.

Illustrated floor plan of the basement level  Click to enlarge

Basement Level Plan.

Illustrated floor plan of the ground level  Click to enlarge

Ground Level Plan.

Illustrated floor plan of the second level  Click to enlarge

Second Level Plan.

3D illustration showing the Longitudinal Section of the building  Click to enlarge

Longitudinal Section.

3D illustration showing the latitudinal section of the building  Click to enlarge

Latitudinal Section.

3D render of the wellness room  Click to enlarge

Wellness Room projecting nature scene.


Longitudinal and latitudinal sections through the space.

3D Views

The building is made up of three storeys linked by a large atrium from the basement level to the upper level. On each floor, there are live plants and wellness/immersive rooms displaying nature scenes to help improve physical, mental, and/or emotional health. Natural elements were used in each area to provide a calming experience for users by "bringing the outside in." With open, semi-open, and private areas considered, the programming provides flexible work options to promote group learning. The renderings highlight the main focal areas on each separate level.

3D render of Café/Juice Bar Lounge.  Click to enlarge

Café/Juice Bar Lounge with ceiling feature.

3D render of the Open Seating Area.  Click to enlarge

Open Seating Area around central garden.

3D render of the Mixed-Use Space.  Click to enlarge

Mixed-Use Space for collaboration.

Poster showing 3D renders, floor plans and conceptual sketches of The Unwind.


This poster includes my conceptual approach, sections, floor plans, and interior 3D renderings to emphasize major areas inside the building as well as the many natural materials and finishes used throughout.