ASID Icon - Spring 2012 - (Page 22)
Ritual and Remembrance
EVIDENCE-BASED DESIGN INSPIRES AND INFORMS STUDENT HOSPICE PROJECT/
PROJECT SPECS/ MFA Thesis Project New York School of Interior Design Location Compassion & Choices Hospice of Tribeca New York 55 Vestry Street, New York, NY Renderings by Deana Acheson
WHEN FOCUSING ON my MFA thesis proj-
ect last spring at the New York School of Interior Design, I wanted to give myself an ultimate design challenge. The previous fall, I had completed a research-driven independent study program in evidence-based design (EBD). Based on that experience, I wanted EBD to serve as the foundation to research an interior that held a highly sensitive population and served a universal need. Using these parameters, I began to investigate how an interior space could support people when they were in a heightened emotional or stressful situation. Initially, designing a birthing center or a maternity unit of a hospital seemed to ﬁt my criteria. Then it dawned on me: While we spend a lot of time preparing for birth, much of our culture does not adequately prepare for death—a universally shared experience. We should be supported through this last stage of life and be offered a space, if needed, to live out our last moments in the way we desire. My design challenge then became to create a longterm care, facility-based hospice in a city where ritual, remembrance, support, tribute and celebration are honored. I wanted to design a space that would allow the stakeholders to reﬂect on their own lives, while fostering wonder and thought. I chose Compassion & Choices, a not-for-proﬁt organization offering information and support regarding end-of-life education and advocacy, as the client for this project. The study surrounding EBD and Roger Ulrich’s “Theory of Supportive Design” provided me with more than 25 years of credible research to use as a platform for this design challenge. I incorporated the theory by providing access to social support and positive distractions in the physical surroundings, integrating calming color palettes, nature and art
work. The space helped to create a sense of control by including patient-controlled room lighting and temperature, accessible gardens, views to the outside and ability for residents to pursue personal interests. For the location, I chose an 1899 Romanesque Revival building in Tribeca. The brick facade creates a warm and welcoming language. Tribeca also offers a more serene environment than much of Manhattan and is close to public transportation, Hudson River Park and Chelsea Pier. For the programming phase, I incorporated all necessary requirements gathered from case studies and site visits while integrating a few of my own ideas, like an oral history room. One of the most successful areas of the design is the patient rooms. Patients can choose from one of three color palettes for ﬁnishes and are offered high-end furniture, private bathrooms and space for caregivers to stay overnight. Each room contains a noise-cancelling light therapy ceiling ﬁxture, providing privacy and positive distraction. Throughout the phases of design, the conversation surrounding the creation of a place for death inspired stimulating discussions. Peers and advisors focused more on personal stories regarding family members living out their last days in non-desirable environments or individual needs and desires, rather than on the interior architecture within the project. The challenge was one that all interior designers face: listening deeply to colleagues, trusting myself and my education, while doing my best to transpose the feedback into the interior design. i
Deana Acheson is an interior designer with Habjan Architecture and Interior Design in Montclair, N.J. She holds an MFA from The New York School of Interior Design.
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ASID Icon - Spring 2012
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