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Restoring the Whole: Reconnecting Time, Place and Self

Part 2 Project 2010
Stefan Rust
Newcastle University | UK
The main concept focussed on what psychiatrists are calling a “Time Poverty” in which the mechanical and digital cycles of modern living have caused us to lose contact with time and the slow natural cycles of nature.

The main focus for the project is on healing defined as “making whole.” This has been defined as to make whole by strengthening the experience of self (sense of being) through contrasting sensory experiences: not just the 5 physical senses but also the emotional senses enriched by both memory and place. This looked at reconnecting people with the whole experience of place through the amplification of the human senses, a reconnection with the surrounding environment and reaffirming memory.

The brief is for a retreat that aims to treat and prevent "utmattningssyndrom" (fatigue syndrome- symptoms include depression, stress and anxiety). The retreat utilises both conventional and alternative therapy methods such as: cognitive behavioural therapy, eco-therapy (communal gardens), art therapy (arts studio), music therapy (performance space) and biblio-therapy (library and archive). The scheme provides interplay between communal, creative, intellectual and spiritual aspects of therapy in an attempt to treat depression, stress and anxiety.
The site is located in Silvberg in central Sweden. The building is sited within the ruins of an old smelting works. The site was chosen for its strong sense of memory and the healing affect of nature which is present on the scarred landscape. The scheme acts as an amplifier for the landscape with key points utilised: - ruins/remnants, areas of experiential amplification and quiescence in order to create a stronger connection with place and self. The programme is divided into three distinct zones – accommodation, public and treatment. The accommodation units fragment out into the landscape from the public and group therapy spaces. The private treatment zone is situated on the opposite side of the river and connected via a footbridge which takes people past the remnants of past site activity, nature and the crescendo of rushing water.

The building runs completely off grid with power generated by utilising the dammed river and heating from horizontal ground source heat pumps.

Stefan Rust

Stefan Rust has demonstrated a rare sensitivity, and its potential to touch our emotions. Human sense of memory and place is used as a design generator. His proposal for the healing centre, as connecting people back to the nature, could be described as architecture of natural materials and human senses.

The site of the project is located within the ruins of an abandoned and silver smelting works at Silvberg in the Dalarna region of Sweden. Stefan has proposed to divide the site into two main areas, Public zone and Private zone, with the stream in between and those areas are connected by a bridge. The building materials, such as timber, stone and fair faced concrete, he has proposed will anchor the project to the landscape. Imaginative observation and recording of the site and the development of the architectural proposition have been done concurrently.

The spaces are proposed as enclosures of existing natures and intensify the senses by creating the journey of slowing. The architecture builds on the potentials existing in the site, rather than following programmatic requirements.

– Chi Park

Mr Tim Bailey

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