“The need for connection is our first and most basic instinct” Dr Sue Johnson
Keeping a relationship strong can be especially challenging for physicians. Many struggle to find the balance between family time, work time and alone time. Scheduling time together for a few days can provide them the opportunity to turn to each other and connect to one another deeply. This research explores an approach to heal and rekindle the relationship between physicians and their loved ones. The research aims to fulfil this aim through the use of a specially designed retreat space. The design is heavily inspired by Chinese classical gardens and Sihe courtyards.

Retreat garden

This is the garden area of the retreat centre, it is inspired by the traditional Si He courtyards and the classical chinese gardens of Beijing. Chinese architecture is not limited to stimulating visual sensation but can also stimulate other modes of sensation like audition and olfaction. This is why I have incorporated the auditory and olfactory component to my design. The soundtrack involves traditional Chinese instruments, bird and water sounds which will be played in the background of the retreat spaces for the media component. I have also incorporated several local Beijing flowers for the olfactory component of the experience.

Living room

The living rooms has large windows, it allows the scenery to act like a painting itself. It helps the physicians and their family really be immersed in the garden.

The kitchen

Food has many different symbolic meanings in Chinese culture; it not only expresses but also establishes harmony and closeness to the family and relationships in the Chinese culture. Physicians in China rarely have the opportunity to dine with their family which is going against the nature of Chinese culture. This can bring a negative impact to the relationship between physicians and their family. Thus, the kitchen is one of the main focuses of this design project.

The bedroom

The colours I mainly used are white, grey, and wood to contrast the vibrance of the greenery, flowers, ponds, and sculptured rocks.


Overal plan

Although there is no overwhelming evidence to suggest any specific timeframe likely due to the intrinsic variation in the dynamic of every family, it would be appropriate for physicians and their family stay at the retreat for an average of 2 days each month to offer them the opportunity to disconnect and escape from their day-to-day distractions and focus on their relationships. The retreat space provides different activities that may help to encourage intimate interactions between physicians and their families, to hopefully reignite the passion, intimacy, and vigour they once had.
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