How do people deal with stress?
When people have stress in their lives and are emotionally distressed, they sometimes need to seek help from professionals. However, oftentimes they feel uncomfortable with seeking help.
A sensory healing center aims to be a place where people can relax with nature, have time alone, and meet with a counselor if needed. This place ideally would include a garden with a water feature, a whirlpool spa, a meditation area, a library and a café. Also, the sensory therapy center provides private counseling spaces, a group meditation space and hospitality spaces so that visitors can choose what types of experiences they need. This non-traditional healing center gives visitors a sense of peace by connecting them to nature with a variety of sensory experiences.
Site location: 2201 Shields Lake Dr, Richmond, VA 23220
Year: Spring 2018
Undergraduate Senior Thesis Project

This project promotes the idea of blending in relation to the moods of Focus, Relax, and Active that are assigned to each program space. This concept of sensory incorporation is designed to open the space; to touch, hear and smell with a variety of materials.

There are three major program areas in the center of the building: Library, Sensory Garden, and Organic Café. By having the Sensory Garden between the Library and the Organic Café, the place works as a bridge to manifest the transition of two different atmospheres. Also, the layout centers the nature elements in the middle of the building, to signify the spread of healing from the inside to the outward.

Jee Yeon Choi
Recently graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with degree in Interior design, Jee Yeon Choi is currently working in the D.C. area as an interior designer. Jee believes environment, architecture, and interior design are intrinsically connected, intertwined by human five senses; sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell. She is developing her concept of sensory design in recent projects with various uses of materials, form, colors, and scent. In her free time, Jee likes to travel and is inspired by the rich cultures and nature that she is able to visit around the world.