Thesis: Nature and Nurture

Thesis Studio

Spring 2020


In recent years, the connection between mental health and the built environment has been increasingly acknowledged. It has been proven that the built environment can promote or hinder mental health. While there are several different theorized approaches in place for negotiating this relationship, the goal of this thesis was to analyze and categorize them, in an attempt to create a clear set of principles governing how designers can better build to support stress relief in buildings. This thesis posits that the re-imagination of forms, patterns, and spatial arrangements found in nature can create a new typology of apartment living that supports the reduction of stress.

These principles integrating nature and stress reduction into buildings are then tested with an apartment building located in Midtown, Detroit. This building focuses on the careful curation of common spaces and community, with each space highlighting certain principles as outlined by the thesis. Nature and biomimicry are integrated throughout, and serve as the armature along which the residents move, gather, and are offered a chance at stress reduction.