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Urbanity and Nature

Dónal McLarnon


Throughout this thesis I will be examining and discussing the topics of addiction, recovery, and aspects that contribute to recovery. Consequently we learn how architecture can be used as the vehicle through which these aspects can be highlighted in order to facilitate a more successful and holistic recovery journey for people struggling with addiction.
The project manifested itself in a Therapeutic Community Model of Addiction Rehabilitation.
A therapeutic community is a residential, mostly non medical form of treatment for addiction. People typically spend 6-24 Months in this type of treatment and this project has housing for 21 residents, as well as staff. Residents also participate in aftercare services long after departure form the community.

Therapeutic Communities use ‘community’, work, and structure, as well as mental health supports, counselling and educational services as its means for recovery.
This thesis explores and delineates how a connection to nature can and will expedite the recovery processes for somebody struggling with recovery from addiction. As a result, nature becomes the centre piece of this project. The work aspect of life here revolves around gardening, farming and learning about horticulture, residents will leave with these new skills. Biophillia, the study of the innate desire to be connected to nature, produces a set of biophillic design principles. These design principles were utilised in designing this project in order to enforce strong connections to nature, natural processes and life cycles. Even wintertime is an important part of the natural process, the production aspect of the farming becomes less important as the purpose is to use the work as means for recovery.

The building is a sheltered, private world for the residents, it also presents itself to the city as a a place where nature thrives. Destigmatisation of addiction and its treatment must be central to the design of these buildings.

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