Place and memory are strongly intertwined based on the human experience. So what can a new place become in the mind of an individual who has garnered distressing perceptions of one’s current environment due to trauma? How can the environment support or facilitate periods of transition caused by a traumatic event? The aftermath of abuse that occurs in romantic relationships of late adolescence leads to a rocky crisis stage that often results in isolation, loss of identity, and social stigma. It is a period of transition in which recovery can be a long journey. This is where concepts of acceptance, mental alleviation, and appreciation of the present moment evoked by a nonjudgmental architecture can come into play. A space with the purpose of evoking a mental and emotional respite is of great need, especially when considering the current severity of today’s fast paced society. An architecture of this nature holds relevance and importance on campuses of higher education when considering the specific demographic. In order to reverse the perception of one’s surroundings as tarnished spaces and override the sensations to which distrust and exhaustion have claimed ownership, this center of healing should be integrated into an individual’s life as a facilitator of comfort. In short, it should provide the ability and opportunity to take a breath.
The Intermission is a healing space located at Arizona State University in Tempe, specifically where Forest Mall and Orange Mall meet. Abuse in intimate relationships is the most prevalent amongst college-aged individuals and those of late adolescence. This architecture exists specifically for the survivors of this particular traumatic experience, but welcomes all of the student body. It takes into consideration the general sensory overload placed on today’s youth who are existing in a specifically stressful and challenging developmental phase of life. The intention lies in eliciting a reprieve through the use of nature as an enclosure and an undulating platform as a labyrinth, which ultimately offers up a positive form of both a sensory and traversing experience. It offers the discovery of stimuli that users are able to easily adapt to and appreciate. It allows for and calls one to take part in deceleration. The goal is to bring the users to the awareness of themselves, their surroundings, and that of the present moment through spatial means. With this, the environment is able to support and facilitate a period of transition through the re-building of identity and memory. Ultimately, The Intermission is architecture as pause from a harsh and sometimes unforgiving life. It is an in-between moment for the in-between individual— an alternate, but necessary route (as well as pit stop) in the loop of daily life.