Driven by a passion for human psychology and the natural world as it pertains to interior design, Ana strives to create spaces which are functional, captivating, and have a strong emphasis on human wellbeing through sustainable design strategies. She focuses intently on conceptual exploration in her projects to create a truly unique journey for users. Ana's interest in biophilic and sustainable design strongly influenced her thesis project for a Student Wellness and Recreation Center.
This project celebrates the heritage site in which it is housed while also addressing a key issue namely, the need for a post secondary student wellness and recreation center with an emphasis on biophilic and biomimetic design strategies. Post secondary students face various stressors with even greater challenges imposed on this demographic since the start of the pandemic. Evidence based design guided the program of the space as well as key design elements. This space titled the Urban Oasis offers students a variety of spaces which inspire a sense of community while also supporting user’s wellbeing.
The concept derived from the idea of bringing a part of the natural world into a city core for students to have easier access to this restorative environment. This idea grew into the concept of an oasis which by definition is a pleasant space surrounded by an unpleasant space. On the macro level, my concept begins at the site which is in the historic industrial area of the city and is today surrounded by municipal parking. I am proposing that my building would act as the oasis which exists in this harsh part of the city. Moving into the building then, the oasis becomes a central feature in the open atrium space which connects all three levels together. The Urban Oasis offers various flexible areas to facilitate individual work as well as group collaboration giving users the choice of how they would like to use the space.
The space incorporates a balance between private, semi-private and public areas giving students the option to choose where they would like to spend time whether it be on their own in one of the solo seating nooks or interacting with others in the open lounge area. The basement level is used to house spaces which require greater acoustic considerations this includes study rooms as well as a fitness area. The ground floor supports users with an open work space, café, and reception area. Finally the upper level includes counselling offices and a career resource center as well as a multi purpose room which can be used for group counselling sessions. On this level we also have the open student lounge as well as a vertical garden and wellness shop which sells tea blends, healthy snacks and drinks made in-house using produce grown in the vertical garden.
A section through the building shows materiality and overall aesthetic of the project. The atrium space is highlighted showing how it carves through the entirety of the building creating a strong focal feature and connecting the allocated spaces together.
These 3D views show the aesthetic qualities of the space presenting key features, incorporation of biophilic elements, and a thorough consideration for human-centered design strategies.