Deconstituting the Architecture of Social Anxiety

In an era driven by social relations, where communication is perceived as the most critical skill anyone can possess, any form of barrier to this poses a risk of disadvantage moving through life. Social anxiety is one of the most common, yet least studied, mental illnesses in the UK – sufferers establish an alternate perception of the environments around them in which everyday interaction and communication can cause extreme anxiety beyond their control.

By its very definition, social anxiety as a hidden mental illness is difficult to explore as those suffering tend to avoid unnecessary interaction, however it has been commonly appropriated to a sufferer’s early childhood and school years; this thesis project utilises a ficto-narrative approach, through realisation of the trauma based narratives of ‘Waterloo Road’, exploring the dissection, deconstruction & deconstitution of the architecture associated with social anxiety and trauma within the school environment.

Ultimately the project seeks to act as a framework for the development of socially driven design, prioritising the social & mental well-being of users and occupants of spaces particularly within the school and education environment; the approaches used and types of spaces developed can be extrapolated and modified to be applied within a range of social and spatial conditions.