"Prevention is Better than Cure" A Wellness Sanctuary
The mental health landscape in Singapore is severe and widespread. Mental health issues are on an uptrend and there is a dire need to do something about it before they are sick. It is therefore my intention to adopt a “prevention is better than cure” approach, to intervene at a much earlier stage by providing a wellness sanctuary for all to unwind and destress as a form of prevention.
It is about elevating mental wellness in Singapore through architecture, using environmental design to relieve stress. Through research, a series of primary and secondary attributes of mental wellness were found where the primary attributes are the 5 senses: sense of smell, sight, touch, hearing and taste.
In the midst of a busy urban site, the idea is to insert 3 shafts into the building massing that will illuminate the spaces within. Each shaft has its own distinct character focussing on a certain sense and acts as way finding, helping visitors orientate themselves while creating a sense of wandering and discovery as they mentally find themselves. The shafts help to organise the spaces around them based on how they relate to the various programmes, generating new relationships.
The shafts also act as a metaphor for looking inwards. When people are sad and stress, it is because they cannot find themselves and it is not about looking outwards but looking inwards to find the light within themselves to get stronger.
The project is of a prototypical nature where it will first be built on this busy urban site (Teo Hong Road Public Car Park) to showcase how it can respond to a challenging site and emphasise that this idea can then be further built around Singapore.
The statistics on mental well-being in Singapore are alarming - there were 452 suicide cases locally in 2020, more than the total number who died from transportation accidents or causes! For Singaporeans in the age group of 10-29, suicide is the most common cause of death - clearly we have a mental well-being issue. Jian Der’s proposition that “prevention is better than cure” takes the form of a public spa facility that is open to all and providing a wide range to stress-relief activities and psychiatric consultations to those who need it.
- Prof. in Practice Richard Ho
Quek Jian Der
Quek Jian Der