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An Architecture That Heals

In graduate school Professor Reichek did not force me in any direction. Instead he coaxed me toward autonomous development. I believe he was intrigued with my desire to combine architecture and psychology. Professor Reichek was keen on pointing out architecture's present-day role in the accumulation of wealth, but he left it up to me to find out how architecture might help heal ethnic communities.

Over the years, theories on ethnic community development and revitalization have missed the mark, since none address the fundamental problem of mental health. No matter what, the solution presented focuses on economics. As if, an abundance financing is the cure. From studying psychology as an undergraduate, I feel the opposite is true. When a sound mind comes first, the appropriate type of abundance appears at the right time and place.

However, it wasn't until I was well out of graduate school that I encountered Chinese medicine and its theory of Yin/Yang, negative/positive, and caught a glimpse of the role architecture could play in restoring health to ethnic communities.

The herbs used in Chinese cooking provide the distinctive taste we all enjoy and represent thousands of years of research in nutrition. This alone is valuable information needed in ethnic communities. But in terms of metal health, I found something even more potentially useful for ethnic community development.

Incorporated in Yin/Yang theory is the idea, "using the outside to work on the inside." This is part of the healing method found in the practice of Chinese acupuncture. By using needles, applied along the correct energetic lines in the body (outside), balance is restored (inside) and the person returns to health.


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Psychology and Design