University of Oulu

Wellness Retreat : restorative environment for all senses

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Author: Bihun, Karolina1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Oulu School of Architecture
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 51.9 MB)
Pages: 32
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : K. Bihun, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-10-04
Thesis type: Master's thesis (tech)
Tutor: Herneoja, Aulikki
Reviewer: Herneoja, Aulikki
Sanaksenaho, Matti
Lassila, Anssi


Recent times of pandemic have brought to light growing concern for human well-being and showed the complexity of this issue. In an architectural context, spaces where we spend most of our time and their quality need to be re-evaluated. This thesis looks into environments that support well-being. Several aspects are considered: the role of human senses and perception of spaces, understanding the impact of nature on our well-being and principles of the restorative environments. With the gained knowledge, the aim is to create a concept design of the Wellness Retreat that is restorative and accounts for human senses.

The thesis is divided into two parts. Firstly, the theoretical base aims to highlight how our surroundings affect our well-being. To begin with, a better understanding of how human senses work in terms of spatial experience shows that sensory-rich environments strengthen the experience and induce emotions, which may contribute to our wellness. Commonly observed lack of nature within urban environments triggered the investigation of the relationship between humans and nature. It implies that the awareness of our meaningful bond with the natural environment is crucial, and the presence of nature is essential to our well-being. Within a built environment, thoughtfully designed spaces can support healing and well-being. Principles and solutions of the design for achieving restorative environments often derive from nature.

In the end of the first part, two case studies are investigated for solutions of supportive design and how human senses are engaged to architectural design. Finally, the conclusions section sums up the theoretical knowledge for the design phase.

Lastly, the second part of the thesis introduces a concept design of the Wellness Retreat based on the principles of a restorative environment, which creates an interaction between users and the building using all senses. It is located in the Swiss Alps by Lake St. Moritz, and serves as a place for slowing down and finding balance. Meaningfully integrated nature, proposed program and created atmosphere support the well-being of body and mind.

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Copyright information: © Karolina Bihun, 2021. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.