Phenomenon of Homelessness

dc.contributor.authorAdhikari, Amritaen
dc.contributor.committeechairJones, James R.en
dc.contributor.committeememberGipe, Andrewen
dc.contributor.committeememberWashco, Kristin Nicoleen
dc.description.abstractIn architecture, phenomenology refers to an approach that focuses on the lived experience of built spaces rather than purely on their functional or aesthetic qualities. It is rooted in the philosophical tradition of 'Phenomenology' which investigates the structure of human experiences and consciousness or the idea of awareness of the self, regarding one's physical environment. Awareness of the self occurs as a result of the subjective experience of individuals within a space, including how they perceive, interact with, and feel about their surroundings. Design considerations of a space like the quality of light, materiality, scale, proportion, texture, sound, and movement, as well as the cultural, social, and historical context, all contribute to the making of this space, as suggested by Juhani Pallasma "My body remembers who I am and how I am located in the world. My body is truly the navel of my world, not in the sense of the viewing point of the central perspective, but as the very locus of reference, memory, imagination, and integration." Phenomenology comes from the Greek word 'Phainomenon' meaning "that which appears" and "logos" meaning study. The thesis studies 'homelessness', a social phenomenon characterized by a physical condition wherein individuals or families lack safe, stable, and adequate housing. Homelessness can affect people of all ages, backgrounds, and circumstances and leads to challenges such as poverty, mental illness, substance abuse, social isolation, and unemployment. It is observed that most of the above consequences arise due to a lack of safe and affordable living conditions that affect homeless people psychologically and physiologically. Homeless individuals face harsh and challenging living conditions in their physical environment. Most people live on streets or in makeshift shelters exposed to extreme weather conditions such as heat, cold, snow, and rain. Lack of shelter forces many to sleep in public spaces like parks, sidewalks, alleys, under bridges, or in abandoned buildings. Dwelling in such habitats exposes them to crime and assault and makes them vulnerable to health issues due to the unsanitary environmental conditions. The thesis delves into addressing the physical environments experienced by homeless people. It aims to formulate and propose urban design, and architectural interventions and strategies that prioritize the safety, dignity, and well-being of homeless individuals. The design of the housing project is based on the principles of phenomenology. It uses architectural elements as a medium to craft spaces that foster a sense of hope in its inhabitants and promote healing because of the physical space generated. The thesis also explores the idea of 'place-making through design' and uses it to enhance social connection and bring a sense of being one with nature and beyond.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralThe thesis investigates how we experience our physical environments through our senses and how we derive meaning from these interactions. By examining the physical conditions inhabited by homeless individuals and their psychological and physiological impacts, the research aims to understand the nature of this physical space in detail. The thesis then translates these insights into the design of a housing project, creating spaces that heal, nurture, inspire, and instill hope through the physical space created. Based on the principles of Phenomenology, the thesis aspires to formulate architecture that mediates between phenomena such as light quality, sound and material texture, and the positive human experiences these elements generate.en
dc.description.degreeMaster of Architectureen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.subjectsensory environmenten
dc.subjectphysicality of spaceen
dc.titlePhenomenon of Homelessnessen
dc.typeThesisen Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen of Architectureen


Original bundle
Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
Thumbnail Image
86.83 MB
Adobe Portable Document Format