A rehabilitation clinic for digital gaming addicts
Digital gaming has become a favourite pasttime for many young people and provides lots of fun, yet for some youngsters it turns into an addiction. After retreating into the digital world for a long time, one becomes physically numb and disconnected from familiy, friends and school. The world outside of the comfortable home becomes something to be afraid of.
The rehabilitation clinic I designed is about reconnecting severely digitally addicted 13 to 23 year-olds to themselves, their own body, other people and society again. The architecture of the clinic provides an antidote to the digital world because it provides what the digital world cannot. Architecture can enhance the feeling of Being in the physical world. It creates a sense of place and time, by incorporating natural influences of weather and seasons and showing the effects of time on it's survaces. It makes your body feel as the center of perception by the way it makes you move from space to space, the textures you touch, the different temperatures you experience. Finally, the building shows it's own roots in the physical world through the natural origins of it's materials and the way they are combined and stacked to withstand gravity.
Reïntegrating into society
The rehabilitation clinic provides a 12 week program, during which they will receive treatment and live together as a 'community'. Yet, it is not conceived as a traditional closed-off clinic, but one that seeks to find the right balance between a comforting, safe environment and the neccesary confrontation with the fear to go outside that many have. This is why the clinic is located in a niche of a public park. The grounds of the clinic are only subtily separated from public areas by existing landscaped boundaries in the park. Within, the clinic will provide a space in which fellows feel safe enough to open up in, but also trains them to leave the comfort of their own rooms. Corridors are replaced by outdoor walkways, making movement and natural stimuli part of the daily routine. And in order to facilitate a gradual return to society, some of the treatment spaces are separated from the main building and are shared with the park, inviting the 'fellows' to go 'out' on a daily basis. This new spatial concept shows that architecture can help people to 'reconnect' and be an antidote to addiction.
Afstudeercommissie: Jo Barnett (mentor), Gloria Font en Bart Bulter. Toegevoegde leden t.b.v. het examen: Florian Schrage en Jeroen Atteveld.