Interior Design

HEALING THROUGH PLACE MAKING ; Psychological effects of War on Children

Sabahat Mukhtar
University of Karachi, Department of Visual Studies

Project idea

This thesis focuses on the psychology of war-affected children who suffer significantly during times of conflict. They are most vulnerable to the environment they reside in; their stress level also lasts longer than adults, affecting their ability to think and perform activities that enable them to see a stable future. These children move through life with the deep-seated stress of living in war zones facing psychological repercussions. Humanitarian aid majorly focuses on visible physical needs, while response towards psychological trauma is almost non-existent. This thesis aims to bridge the gap between the psychological needs of war-affected children and the role of spaces in healing them. It primarily focuses upon the space place phenomena and the relationship of the user with its environment.

Project description

The objective is to design a prototype of children healing space to bring a sense of happiness and hope amidst war-torn children and help them mitigate war trauma. Designing a temporary space that can be easily built in any post-war zone which has not yet moved towards the reconstruction phase. It is a given fact that space has the power to mitigate trauma. Therefore, the significance of this Project is that it explores the potential of architecture in creating healing spaces for war-affected children. It comprehend the possibilities of creating a child-friendly healing environment where children can learn to overcome their fears, most importantly learn to trust again
and foresee a stable future. It is the current global need, as humanitarian aid majorly focuses on fulfilling the physical requirements of war-affected people, and places built for psychosocial support within an emergency zone is almost nonexistent. This prototype is a hybrid solution and Aleppo - Syria has been chosen as one of the many sites where this idea can be implemented. The design approach leads towards children centric design building a space responding to the scale, proportion and characteristic of Children while evoking their emotions and bringing contentment for their fabric of the soul.

Technical information

The need for temporary structure arises in emergency situations, it offers quick construction and is also easily transportable compared to permanent construction. This is where scaffolding comes as a good alternative based on movable principles of construction, it offers modularity, it's mantling and dismantling can also be done by the community themselves engaging them with each other and can also be reused later in reconstruction phase. It offers spatial impermanence and reclaiming of existing space in war damaged zone. Layering of textures and materiality helps in creating interesting spaces for children and evokes their senses. For easy, quick and interesting construction light weight pre fabricated wall panels made of polycarbonate sheet and/or PVC+ Calcium board has been used along with pre fabricated wood and aluminum platform as floors and roof works well in creating modular spaces. The project is self supported and does not require additional support while the street where it rests upon is utilized as communal space for the community still residing there. It can be termed as Play Jungle for Children making an attempt to give a part of their Childhood back.


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