The 21st Century Cancer Care Wellness Facility: A Study, Interpretation, and Application of 16th Century Japanese Tea-house Themes


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Virginia Tech


Buildings which address space through all the senses, rather than being dominated by ocular centric considerations solely, have become the minority within the discipline of Architecture. This can create an imbalance, perceivable as feelings of estrangement and detachment for the inhabitant. Estrangement is particularly evident within health care architecture, which owes much of its current form to ideas developed during Modernism. In response to this imbalance, Architecture from the past may have lessons which can be applied. This thesis investigates the potential of applying spatial techniques and approaches learned from the 16th century Japanese tea-house. A health care building which benefits from the same kind of reflective and contemplative spaces inherent in the tea-house includes counseling facilities, and therefore an outpatient cancer care center was chosen to apply these lessons. Among the techniques researched and applied, the use of a sequential vision of spatial experience, which reveals the building in stages and facilitates spaces for pause and reflection, was particularly powerful. The result is a building with spaces that take on an almost sacred tone, where one can be at peace with the realities of their current situation, and begin thinking about the path forward.



Tea-house, Cancer Care Center, Health Care Architecture, Sequential Experience, Japanese Architecture