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Can Design Invite Stories?

Lee Harmon Waters



9800 Mayland Drive 2 Floors

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6582 SQ. FT.

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Built in 1999

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Steel Services, Inc. Building

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SITE 1st Level

SITE 2nd Level

SITE 9800 Mayland Drive

Issues to consider

privacy 2. adaptability 1.

egress 4. traffic visuals 3.

5. landscape 6. sunlight/glare 7. sound 8. neighbors 9. long, narrow 10. stair locations

PROGRAM Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Therapy Center

The sensitive nature of this program requires clear distinction between public and private areas, and spaces for groups versus individuals. Next Step: More parti models of this concept

PROGRAM Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Therapy Center

Required spaces

Sq. ft.

1. Private offices 120-150 2. Individual therapy rooms 120-150 3. Group therapy room 400 4. Group activity/social space 400+ 5. Staff break room 150 6. Storage 20 lineal ft. 7. Staff/public toilets 45-55 8. Reception 20-25/person 9. Library 150 10. Entrance/Exit 80 11. Business office 100 Space for 2 doctors, 1 receptionist, 2 office assistants, 20 patients/family members (max) Next step: Which spaces can be shared, flexed or combined?

PROGRAM Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Therapy Center

A place for... 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

sharing your story adaptability coping feeling safe finding direction time to pass release dignity

learning nature

Next step: Find more or better solutions for this to layer with the required spaces.

PROGRAM: CASE STUDY Pima County Behavioral Health Pavilion and Crisis Response Center by Cannon Design Direct access to natural light without harsh glare; central area for connection. In Cannon Design’s quest to create a healing campus, two interrelated buildings respond to the broadest range of patient needs. The buildings are organized around a shared service court that provides a secure circulation zone for medical staff, law enforcement, courtroom personnel, and patient and material transfers. The interiors provide private rooms that are naturally lit giving patients “privacy, security and dignity.” The rooms are located close to shaded outdoor gardens to connect patients and staff directly to their surroundings. Although most spaces lead to an outdoor area, the south façade features the most dramatic exterior space. A carved-out multi-level terrace features a sky garden that provides views of the area. The south-facing façade is clad in a corrugated perforated aluminum sunscreen to reduce peak energy loads by up to thirty percent. The earth-toned concrete block combined with warm metallic panels and screens create a palette similar to the harsh Arizona landscape with high performance quality. Source:, August 2009.

BIG IDEA From Comfort to Story Invitations

What are the users’ needs for “comfort”? “One of the hardest things has been trying to find a place that’s safe, to feel safe”. Sgt. Bill Campbell, Fish Out of Water (film)

adaptability for users

loud noises

environment can ease/

daylighting smells/tastes (glare,

body without pain


light, color




emotional guilt

psychological prospect & refuge theory

“It gets better with medication, with you know, individual therapy, group therapy, even things like this. Being able to tell your story.” Michael Zacchea, Iraq Soldier, Veteran’s of PTSD (film) “I have to come here every week, just because it’s the only place I can speak and not feel like a zoo animal” Jeff Myers, Vietnam Veteran, Veteran’s of PTSD (film)

physical belonging

“When you go into civilian life, you have friends, but you don’t have comrades. You feel lonely, because there’s no one else who can understand, there’s no one else that you can talk to share your stories, [where] you feel like they’ve been there.” Sgt. Geoffrey Bussiere, Fish Out of Water (film)


Next step: Watch more

documentaries that deal with PTSD to discover more of the users’ needs. Also, create a graphic formula for organizing all the related incoming data.

BIG IDEA from Comfort to Story Invitation

comfort > security > reveal > story



> healing

Design can tell a story, but can it invite stories?

Paintings from Chauvet Cave, France, around 30,000 BCE

BIG IDEA Storytelling Grandfathers & Story-inviting Inspiration

Storyteller Kevin Kling

Director, storyteller Werner Herzog

The Wailing Wall remains a sacred place for Jews and others, who often pray, sometimes wail, and sometimes slip prayers written on paper through the wall’s welcoming fissures. May’s own ‘Wailing Wall’ from The Secret Life of Bees (film)

Next Step: Identify & model the compelling tools utilized by storytellers.

BIG IDEA: CASE STUDY Macquarie Group London HQ by Clive Wilkinson A bold, twisting, turning staircase leads you through several stories, while telling one too. The show-stopper, affectionately n i c k n a m e d the “ribbon of connectivity,” is the crimson staircase that zigzags through the void. “It folds around, based on where we needed to enter each level,” he explains. Without a themed lounge or a jazzy pod on-site, Wilkinson still found ways to amuse himself. “It was great fun to bash through the dark center of those large floor plates,” he says, then experiment with “creative lighting” to simulate sun shining into the new atrium. An example: LEDs illuminating stair treads. “It’s important to note, as a contrast, that the Sydney building was designed from the start with a skylit atrium,” he points out. Source: Interior Design, November 2011.

BIG IDEA Storytelling Play Bringing The 3 Fat Donuts back to life

There were once three donuts--a family of donuts, if you can

imagine that. There was King Donut, Queen Donut, and their child Princess Donut. The Donut family was of the Bismarck line, out of Austria, but you mustn’t let their regal lineage distract you from the fact that they were a sad, slovenly set of folks that

acted (and looked) more like peasants’ pigs than royalty. King Donut was the worst of them all and hardly fit to rule a kingdom. He was indecisive, cowardly, and a textbook narcissist, all attributes of a disgraceful ruler. Most nights King nursed himself to sleep with a bottle of 70 proof vanilla extract while bobbing around in his hot lard tub. When Queen Donut didn’t feel like letting the King burn to a crisp, she’d quietly turn off the tub before sneaking off to her own separate chambers. Sometimes King would try convincing Queen to join him, but after producing such an under-baked offspring that she was admittedly ashamed of, she preferred for King to keep his dough to himself. After such evenings, it wasn’t unusual for his servants to find the waking King in the cooled, congealed lard moaning up a storm over his missed opportunities in life, the majority of which involved a most fair and lost love—Lady Éclair. Truthfully, Lady Éclair was never interested in King, even in his youthful days, before his filling expanded, puffing him out like an inverted beluga whale, let alone a greasy, inverted beluga whale. No, she was a beautiful pastry of fine crumb, of goodness and complex taste, wanting nothing to do with a pompous, sugar-dusted dandy. King, being a narcissist however, couldn’t live in a reality where Éclair didn’t want him. So, he constructed his own world by night, and then cried himself almost into crumbs when it somehow didn’t last until morning. When Princess Donut found her father in these fits she didn’t always know what to make of it. But then again, having risen too high and being somewhat, well actually, significantly under-baked, Princess didn’t often know what to make of anything. While she couldn’t be judged for her limited set of critical thinking abilities, no-doubt inherited from her closely related parents, she could, and will be judged for her utter lack of curiosity, imagination and kindness. These are the characteristics that any child worth her salt should have and Princess Donut had none. Her parents had cosseted her, particularly in her eating habits, never promoting anything but self-indulgence. Her thought combinations in their entirety consisted of, “Food. Boundary. No food.” and, “Use size. Move obstacle. Eat food!”, but that’s about it. When you looked into her too-small, beady eyes, you saw a dark, blank expression. The only thing ever reflected in her eyes was a massive plate of pork rinds prior to her shoving anyone in her path out of the way to obtain them. One particular day...

Next Step: Keep playing and finish the story!

Thesis Status Presentation #2  

VCU Interior Design Thesis Status Presentation #2

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