Shakti Rising

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This is a conceptual design for the Shakti Rising Rural Retreat Center.

Shakti Rising is a 501c3 non-profit organization located in San Diego, California. Their name means feminine energy rising. The purpose of this organization is to assist young women ages 15-25 in overcoming addictive behaviors, recovering from traumatic abuses and healing their low self-esteem.

Their approach to recovery is holistic and includes classes in health, nutrition, and life management skills along with a psychological transformational process that addresses addictive and negative behaviors at a core level of the psyche.

Their headquarter is located in a beautiful, old, three story Victorian house in South Park, a suburb of San Diego. Their dream is to own this property or one similar to it for an urban center and to have a rural retreat center outside the city. Eventually they would like to have more facilities in other cities in order to replicate their model for recovery.

This study is about creating an architecture that supports their model of transformation different from what might typically be expected of a rehabilitation facility. It does not address the environments of other facilities but rather focuses on the creation of a different kind of environment that supports and enhances a connection to nature and a connection back to the self.

From birth on we are impacted by our surroundings both positively and negatively. Our environment is an external reflection of our inner world and has a direct influence on our physical comfort.

Nature provides us with a vast array of mandates guiding us in the design of built structures. In order for us to feel safe, secure, and nurtured, it is important to pay attention to our physical surroundings.

As part of any investigation of architecture it becomes important to ask: Why are some environments more pleasing than others? What attracts people to one space, leaving another totally void of all human activity? What form of architecture is currently needed to support us at this particular time? What role should the architect play?

This is a study of signs and symbols and the emotional responses created by space and place. It describes a psychological and spiritual process of healing and how that process assists in the creation of an architecture that supports human transformation.