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Vian Ho

Vian Ho

Constantly inquisitive to all things design, Vian aims to align the ever-changing idea of form and function efficiently. Expressing the importance between a spatial environment and the human experience, innovative, sustainable, and human wellness ideas and design fuel and intrigues Vian to strive and apply herself in the design community.

S H I F T - Youth Wellness Centre

SHIFT Youth Wellness Centre is a proposed innovative community safe space geared towards youth aiming to address and reduce the negative stigma surrounding mental health.

S H I F T - Youth Wellness Centre

Rationale and Design Narrative

Mental illness is the leading cause of disability in Canada (Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2014). 70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence (Government of Canada, 2006). Dated and/or the lack of organizations incorporating design considerations together with human wellness exist for youth. A proposal towards connecting youth with an environment suitable to the cause may decrease the percentage of cases.

Design Connection to Research

The proposal focuses on creating a centre providing services, programs, and activities to help youth better understand and bring awareness to the topic of mental health. The two main focuses in the design concept is wellness in function, social, and politcal sustainability and aiming to improve the human condition via biophillic design. The multi-use facility's intent is to bring together an inclusive and diverse community in an environment offering education, support through prevention + intervention through the normalization in seeking help with mental health.

Character of Space

The concept of transition is represented in the circulation throughout the space. High traffic, open, and busier public spaces are situated in the front half of the building. The back half of the building provides a more private and quiet environment to cater to those who are seeking a less stimulating ambience. The circulation symbolizes the journey one experiences as they learn to manage their thoughts. At the start of the journey, experiences and protocols is generally more broad. As it progresses, the general ambiguities begin to transition to more specific focal points. Mental health recovery may not be linear. With the use of different ceiling heights and ceiling fixtures, it emphasizes the journey of transition. Higher ceilings give a more uplifting experience while lower ceilings, creates a more intimate ambience. With the use of specific ceiling fixtures, acoustics are dampened to provide a more enjoyable environment. The “highs and lows” of the recovery journey for an individual includes overcoming the obstacle(s), this is meant to be reflected in the building structure and to remind individuals it is all a part of the process in becoming a better self.

Program Consideration

S H I F T's space planning accounts for four areas - social heart, skill building, quiet zones, and support services. Public areas with higher foot-traffic and more opened is situated mostly in the front. This includes social activities like the food hall, creating a more generally inviting environment and busy skill building areas such as the vocational kitchen. Acting as a buffer between the business is the quiet zones, allowing calmer activities and gathering to take place. Situated furthest to the back would be supportive services that cater to providing more privacy to its users. These spaces act as the major prevention + intervention providing the services from practising professionals.

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