The PTSD Veteran, deterred by a stigma associated with those diagnosed and receiving treatment for this disorder, are not seeking out or receiving treatment. As a result, alternative treatment centers are attracting veterans in need of help. These treatment centers focus on a re-connection of the veteran back to themselves through a connection with animals and nature. Ocean-surf therapy is one such treatment whereby veterans navigate their way back to functionality through surfing and group therapy, a program being used by the Jimmy Miller Foundation in San Diego, California called Ocean Therapy for Wounded Warriors.My thesis explores this connection with water, as a mood-enhancing and environment-altering element, as space becomes interwoven with intricate patterns carved by water . Also explored, are the sequences of spaces using varying types of water elements to transition, soothe, and invigorate as the veteran and his/her family travels through the space.My choice of the Washington Coliseum for my site was solidified by both the large barrel-vault shaped arena as well as its history. Originally built in 1941 as an ice-skating rink for the Washington Lions ice hockey team, it was a place where ice-skaters carved through the ice, and in the adjoining Ice House, ice was formed and carved into ice blocks. As a parallel, now surfers will carve through water and new shapes will be formed by the carving of existing walls and the creation of new walls; both the surfer and the building will be restored.Similar to the PTSD veteran who navigates his/her way through mental dysfunction to functionality in the domestic world, my design will concentrate on this thin edge of uncontrolled chaos to suspended moments of clarity while focusing on ocean-surf therapy and how the surfer balances on the brink of the dangers below to the flow on the surface above. As the surfer carves through waves, and water carves materials to create patterns, so too will carvings create my design. Considering the needs of the PTSD veteran, this facility will incorporate various implementations of water as a means for self-restoration. The design will integrate flowing water, reflecting pools, sounds of waves, soaking tubs along with a wave-generating pool for surfing activities.
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