Plek van de Geest
A central meeting place for young people with mental problems
A wall so high
That hardly anyone can reach.
Couldn’t this have been done differently?
Mental complaints are an increasing problem among young people. They struggle with stress, pressure to perform, loneliness and worry about the future. Many issues with young people manifest themselves between 12 and 27 years old. These are also the years that form how they deal with mental health issues. Prolonged stress or disruption in quality of life can lead to psychological complaints and, ultimately, to psychological disorders.
Research shows that talking about mental complaints is one of the most important ways to improve mental health and to provide early help. But unfortunately, talking about this is, in many cases, still a big taboo. There often is still a lot of shame surrounding this subject. In addition, the waiting list for help is too long, and institutions are often placed in isolated environments with little or no connection with society.
I am aware that, as an architect, I cannot offer a solution to mental problems, but I can make spatial interventions that can create more openness around mental health. Can I contribute to young people's mental health by creating a place in the centre of Amersfoort, the city where I live? Can I offer an interim solution for the long waiting times that people in need of help face in mental health care?
A Space for the Mind resulted from this question: a central meeting place for young people with mental problems. Located in a central and recognizable location. Easily accessible. A place where you can walk in for a conversation, gain knowledge, share your story, and meet fellow peers. In this way, dealing with mental problems and fears can become a matter of course in the city.
The choice for a closed building block in the heart of the city centre means that the site is centrally located but safe at the same time. By using the different characters of the location and creating different entrances within the building block, the place lends itself well to multiple target groups.
The architecture of the new buildings differs from the historical and characteristic architecture of the city centre of Amersfoort, making the buildings stand out and clearly recognizable. A Space for the Mind consists of a chain of different buildings, each with its own role and program. This is reinforced by diversity in appearance and use of materials. The whole offers an alternative to the traditional uniform architecture and design of institutional healthcare institutions. It is a place that welcomes everyone and where everyone can feel at home.
Graduation date: 25 May 2023
Graduation committee: Rob Hootsmans (mentor), Gus Tielens, Vibeke Gieskes.
Additional members for the exam: Jeroen van Mechelen, Burton Hamfelt.