Fortifying women : an architectural research project exploring the need to protect women and children from domestic violence with a ‘fit for purpose’ intervention
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Citation:Dimock, H. (2018). Fortifying women: An architectural research project exploring the need to protect women and children from domestic violence with a ‘fit for purpose’ intervention. Master explanatory document. An unpublished research project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Architecture (Professional), Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4513
RESEARCH QUESTION: Can architecture make a positive contribution to the rehabilitation and wellbeing of woman and children suffering from domestic violence? It is a fundamental human right to have the want and need to feel safe and have a sense of belonging within society. However, domestic violence strips this away from many women and children. Architecture has the potential to enhance people’s lives and evoke an emotional response from the occupants of the building. These vulnerable families often have no place to go, which creates a demand on women’s refuges. The considerable demand put on these refuges often results in women having to turn to motels as emergency accommodation. As a result, these women are temporarily safe; however, they are not secure and stable in a motel environment, nor is it appropriate. This project is about constructing a place to which these women and children can go and give them empowerment as well as a normative domestic experience. This project researches how design decisions and processes can contribute to the quality of spatial design that addresses these vulnerable families explicitly. Buildings and spaces can mold occupants’ emotions and can empower or belittle an individual. An occupant’s perception of a building predominantly evolves around spatial composition and treatment of the building’s spaces. Families get placed in spaces that contain the bare minimum where the architecture’s ability to evoke feeling onto occupants is forgotten. When starting to research this project, an understanding of the gender aspects of architecture was addressed, firstly in the broader, global context and then focused on New Zealand specifically. In the book, Sexuality and Space, one of the authors, Mark Wigley, discusses how the architecture of the home is often dominated and controlled by the male. Working from the idea of the domesticated house this project can analyse and develop how to manipulate this control into empowerment. By representing how a person reacts to spatial conditions, architecture can mold a journey from restrictive control to a sense of freedom and purpose. Through an exploration into an occupant-sensitive dimension that analyses human emotional awareness alongside with spatial awareness, a journey for these broken families will result.