Alan Tennant (He/Him/His)
Hi, my name is Alan and I’m an architecture student at GSA. I’ve just finished Stage 4 and will be heading into Stage 5 after the summer.
I am very interested in the relationship between the built environment and human health and wellbeing. The majority of my work this year has focused on trying to find out how elements of the spaces we inhabit affect us day-to-day, and what strategies can be used to help evoke sustainable and balanced physical and mental states within us.
Both my Research and Studio Projects have sought to answer these dilemmas through exploration of biophilic design and colour and how they can be used in buildings to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. More specifically, my projects aimed to find out how strategies in these two areas could be used to help treat Biophobia in long-term city dwellers.
My work aims to provide a greater connection between individuals and their surroundings, directing users towards an appreciation of our innate interdependence with our surrounding environment. I have explored this concept, known as ‘organism-environment’, throughout stage 4 by investigating the works of Alan Watts, ideas found in Buddhism and Zen, causal relations found in nature, and the Chinese concept of Wu wei. My hope is that users will gain a greater appreciation for the plants, trees, landscapes, buildings, animals, and people that come together to create their environment, and that this will help them aspire to live in agreement with them for the mutual benefit of all.
I’m grateful that I have been given the opportunity to explore these topics in an academic setting, and I hope you enjoy viewing my work as much as I enjoyed creating it.
Urban Building South-Facing View with Public Gathering Space
'Living in Agreement'
Stage 4 Studio Project
Organism-environment is a concept that describes our innate connection with nature. It is the process of individual organisms collaborating together in order to create a wider environment. The individual is at once a singularity while also being part of the big picture. That is to say, no separation exists between the individual and the whole. We are to the world what a wave is to an ocean, and what a leaf is to a tree.
Without the tree, the leaf would not be the way it is, without the leaf the tree would not be the way it is.
This idea helps us to see that we all depend on each other in one way or another, and that truly positive outcomes benefit not just the one but the whole.
Biophilic Design and Colour
Most of our evolutionary past has been spent inhabiting natural surroundings. It is part of our makeup to physically and mentally benefit from exposure to natural surroundings.
Colour is also a fundamental attribute we rely on in order to interact with the world the way we do, and colour properties can also affect physical and mental well-being.
Many people today have spent the majority of their lives in city centres, and therefore have had low exposure to nature growing up. This lack of exposure can result in aversion, hostility, mistrust, and carelessness toward nature, known as biophobia.
Project Aims + Executions
This project aims to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in these city dwellers through use of strategic colour use and biophilic design techniques, in order to foster a sense of collective wellbeing and connection that will promote user to live in agreement with one another.
This has been executed through use of muted green as a backdrop in spaces aimed at increasing overall well-being without too much force, light blue in zones focused specifically on reducing stress and anxiety, and muted orange in spaces aiming to uplift users through communal leisure activities.
Distanced experiences of nature, such as the timber column structure of the indirect experience space, evoking standing in a forest, or the staggered blocking of southern views to make visual exposure to exterior nature less intense, aim at introducing those with biophobia to nature gradually.
Private light blue spaces have been allocated along the edge of the leisure dome in order to give people the opportunity to relax when in a distressed state. The smaller sizes of these rooms allow for this activity to be more focused in order to make a balanced state easier to achieve.
The exterior of the domes create connection to both site and nature, appearing as natural formations emerging from the conditions of the playing field, that then reveal more nature-focused facades as the dome rises higher from the ground. Nature here is seen to emerge from the man-made conditions of the ground level.
The southern most side of the site hosts a series of allotments, that take the shape of interconnected honeycombs, harkening to the collaboration between bees to produce honey found in nature.
Give and take relationships with crops of the allotments, changes in mood due to the different atmospheres of interior spaces, and the underlying ideas behind the design, help reinforce the idea that we are all connected and one within nature. That we must live in agreement with each other in order to thrive.