StrathMINDS - Putting student wellbeing at the forefront

Zainab Bashir
The University of Strathclyde Department of Architecture, Glasgow, Scotland
United Kingdom

Project idea

Student mental health is a topic receiving increasing publicity in recent times and with good reason, with 1 in 4 students suffering from mental health issues at some point in their academic lives. Research and investigation into the topic as well as into Strathclyde University's mental health services guided me to a vision of using the heart of the campus, Rottenrow Gardens, as a student retreat, primarily aimed at those students that are living in close proximity to the campus. By integrating the 5 aspects of wellbeing (to connect, keep learning, be active, give and take notice) into the different zones on the site, the aim is that this would improve the general wellbeing of students on campus and provide a student hub. By preserving free space that is currently used and encouraging activity and use of the neglected areas of the site, I aim to intensify the use of this key green space lying at the heart of the campus. Nature is key to wellbeing and by increasing the use of the garden and integrating relevant functions whilst retaining the amount of green footprint would help to improve the student experience and create a much needed sanctuary from the daily stresses of education.

Project description

The project focus is on the preservation and enhancement of Rottenrow Gardens, a steep sloped garden at the heart of the campus at University of Strathclyde. A key step includes pedestrianisation of the surrounding roads to create a student retreat. Then zoning of the site into the Pavilion, Upper Garden, Lower Garden and the Hidden Garden. The Pavilion is on the highest point of the site and includes the features of an entrance gateway to the site, a building with relaxation activities and a viewing tower. The Upper Garden is about preserving the currently well used green space as well as the focal point of the site where all paths converge. The Lower Garden is a more sheltered and intimate space with a creative workshop building integrated within the landscape and with a green roof which then blends in with the upper garden. It also includes a community garden and outdoor event/ exhibition space. The Hidden Garden is a forested area on the site and so there is creation of a forest walkway and 2 hidden libraries/ shelters nestled between the trees. The variety of different spaces allow students to pick and choose the areas which suits their preference and mood.

Technical information

Project drawings include diagrams, location/site plan, floor plans, isometric plan, sections, elevations, 3d visuals and physical models. There is also a booklet containing the project research and design proposal.

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