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Therapy through nature. Biophilic center in Ore Mountains

Dobrawa Bies
26 of March '21

{Student} proposed a nature therapy center in place of a forgotten resort facility in Rudy, Silesia. Taking advantage of the beautiful natural conditions of the Buk charm and the principles of biophilic design, she created a friendly space, conducive to therapy and recovery.

The subject of Agata Czechowska's master's thesis, done under the supervision of Dr. Tomasz Glowacki, is the conceptual design of a center for people in psychological crisis and suffering from chronic stress.

Budynki ośrodka
przyrodoterapii w Rudach

The building is divided into two parts: a larger, accommodation and therapy part and a smaller, administration and therapy part

© Agata Czechowska

In times of career pursuit, society is increasingly vulnerable to stress and psychological crisis. According to statistics, Poles are the most stressed nation in Europe (22 percent of people say they feel work-related stress every day). Such a phenomenon is very debilitating for the body - it can contribute to sleep problems, anxiety, neurosis and even depression. Mental health treatment facilities are also a problem. Usually unfriendly, badly associated, often downright repellent. It is possible that this is due to the downplaying of the problem in Poland. Unjustly, since depression has been classified as one of the most dangerous diseases of civilization in the 21st century," says Agata Czechowska.

Nature therapy in Rudy

Analyzing the areas of small towns and villages located near large cities in Silesia, the author chose a plot of land located in the charming area of Buk in Rudy. There used to be a resort there, where families of Silesian miners, but also athletes came together for training camps. There was a swimming pool, hotel, amphitheater and nightclub. Today, despite attempts at revitalization, the place is falling into disrepair. The only renovated building in the complex has become a former hotel - today a retirement home. Agata decided to use the potential of a place full of nature and tranquility, designing a nature therapy center there.

przyrodoterapii w Rudach, aksonometria

The center was built in the charming area of Buk

© Agata Czechowska

biophilic design

The author's idea was to create a place that, through its architecture, its function and its relationship with the environment, will have a positive impact on the psyche. Appropriate spaces are conducive to conducting therapy for patients. By eliminating stressful elements of architecture, Agata Czechowska created a friendly building, using the principles of biophilic design, i.e. designing in proximity to nature.

This way of creating space has a very positive effect on how we feel in it. In my building I used such assumptions as close contact both visually and actively with greenery and water, the use of uncluttered and rounded shapes of the building, the use of a balanced amount of natural and artificial light, and the use of natural materials," explains the architect.

friendly building

The functional scheme was also made simple and intuitive, so that it would not cause any problem in moving around the building. Also important for the author was the accessibility of certain parts of the building, as it combines an open, common space on the first floor with a closed, private space on the first floor. The closed space, which is tame and has defined boundaries, is conducive to tranquility. The open one, on the other hand, stimulates and promotes intensification of physical contact with the environment. In this case, it helps to establish social contact and with nature.

przyrodoterapii, rzut parteru

The center and the garden intermingle with the bathing pond

© Agata Czechowska


Contact with nature is enhanced by hortiterapia, or treatment through gardens. It can take on a passive character in the form of walking and being in a garden, such as a sensory garden, which stimulates the senses, but it can also have an active character involving light garden work including: planting, watering, pruning or transplanting plants. Treatment with gardens, aside from the beneficial role of physical exercise and movement, helps maintain mental balance, reduces stress and improves concentration.

Wewnętrzny ogród

hortiterapia is treatment with gardens

© Agata Czechowska

As part of the therapy, users will also take care of the facility's surroundings, exemplifying the inhibition of pollution and devastation of these areas. Working among greenery has a positive effect on the psyche, is a good deed to nature, and gives a sense of creating something significant for oneself and the world. It will also cause patients to slowly become accustomed to this space, thus eliminating fears of the outside world, the author argues.

przyrodoterapii w Rudach, część prywatna

Each resident of the center has his own room with a private garden

© Agata Czechowska

sensory garden

The body of the building is divided into two parts: a larger, accommodation and therapy part, and a smaller, administration and therapy part. Both were created on a circular plan, on a human-friendly scale. The larger lump is shaped like a ring wrapping around the heart of the facility - the sensory-therapeutic garden
sensory and therapeutic garden. The garden is year-round, so visitors can observe the changes that occur with the passing seasons. On the first floor there is a common area that promotes integration. The author has designed workshop rooms, a kitchen, a dining room and a relaxation area.

Rzut piętra ośrodka

both facilities were created on a circular plan

© Agata Czechowska

The ring with its contained functions and the garden intermingle with the bathing pond. It is an ecological alternative to the previously existing abandoned swimming pool on the site. The first floor is dedicated to a private-accommodation area, where each user has his own room with a garden, inaccessible to others. It is a place where one can calm down and relax by eliminating unnecessary stimuli.

The work was included in the list of the best art and design diplomas of 2020 of the "Font Not Font" competition.

Dobrawa Bies

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