University essay from KTH/Arkitektur

Abstract: Architecture is a field inherently connected to art. The artist cancreate pieces that purposefully challenge our emotional states. Often,the architect is merely responsible for supplying the canvas. Theseemotional challenges, often conveyed by art, can frequently be left assecondary in architecture.In big cities society is constantly changing at a high pace.According to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (2020), thepopulation stresses more and more, which leads to mental illnessthrough exhaustion. That, in turn, leads to long-term sick-leaves andunemployment. We have little time for self reflection and introspectionand during the remaining hours of our days the media steer us indirections of their own. Our minds are crowded with ideas and needsthat are not inherently ours that further increase toxic societal norms.The relation between our bodies, our minds and our directenvironments has a great impact on our mental well-being. Architectureand spatial design have the ability to inspire and influence humanbehaviour. So, the spaces in which we spend most of our time couldhelp us become mentally stronger and reduce stress levels.In order to explore how to create these kinds of builtenvironments, Virtual Reality (VR) can be used as a tool to test spatialexperiences that would emulate real life situations and trigger realemotional reactions. After surveying the field of VR research andperforming VR experiments, a virtual space was designed. This VRexperience was to act as a summary of the exploratory stage of theproject, acting as a precursor to the architecture set in the real world.The reality-based project is located on site in centralStockholm, in connection to areas where stress levels are recordedto be among the highest. In this building, visitors could pause for ashort time, being surrounded by an architecture that triggers positiveand beneficial emotional responses, ultimately contributing to a moresocially sustainable city.

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