Studio Class at UC Berkeley
Studio Class at UC Berkeley

Asylum: a Place of Refuge

This project was developed by Marwah Osama as a student from American University of Sharjah and was submited to the WAS awards 2017 under the Facilities category.

As mental health issues, namely anxieties and depression, have reached an unprecedented peak, with recent research showing that they have increased by 70% in the past 25 years, it is necessary for architects to address the issue by realising the impact of the environment in shaping our thoughts and emotions. The 18th century Asylum implies this realisation through the intervention of nature – vast pastures and bucolic settings – believing it has the power to cure the human psyche and, at the same time, offer redemption. As a result, this project seeks to create a reinterpretation of the 18th century Asylum within an opposed, yet equally fascinating, setting; that of the vast desert and rocky mountains, secluded from urban activity. The use of a powerful, specific and emotive language inherent to the setting, seen through materiality and form, creating unique experiences, allows for Asylum: a Place of Refuge to be a safe haven for people to resort to, away from the pressures and stresses of everyday life marked by the bustling cities.