Lindy McAra received her Bachelor of Art in Art History and Psychology from Wheaton College (MA) in 2009. At SAIC, Lindy discovered an interest in the integration of activity, sound, and space, as well as in architectural photography.
"You teach a man to kill, but you can’t teach a man to die or to see death and dying."
-Cpl. Chris Duggan, British Army, Vietnam Veteran
In the early twentieth century, biophilic design, design based on human’s innate connection to living systems, was used in sanatoriums through the integration of sun, water, air, and nature to help cure disease. Since then, healthcare architecture has become more and more functional and standardized in support of a clinical system that tends to treat symptoms rather than causes.
Although architecture plays an important role in public health care policy, it actually should be seen as supporting a more integrated and holistic approach to health and well-being.
In designing an environment for veterans with PTSD, the strategic approach propositions the creation of significant and meaningful relationships between people, therapy, technology, service animals and the environment. Users need to be able to preserve personal relationships; communicate freely and openly; be informed and aware of opportunities; and utilize the aid of therapy and service dogs.
Architecture will not heal their PTSD, but biophilic design, spatial awareness, and design for therapy animals can create a restorative environment to promote relaxation and selective thinking while assimilating to civilian life. To this end, the relationships between architecture, landscape, micro-climatic conditions, material, and a tectonic framework enables the potential of less functionally programmed spaces, and contributes to the healing process.
(Master of Architecture with an Emphasis in Interior Architecture)