Chandra Mouli, Sarayu (2020-04). Exploring the Architecture for a Community Shelter for Women in the Kashmir Valley Affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • This study focuses on the Kashmir Insurgency that has strained the economic and political relations between India and Pakistan and terrorizing the civilians of the valley. This dispute has resulted in severe loss of security, an epidemic fear in the local people, emotional torture, several deaths and injuries resulting in chronic mental anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mental ailments. The purpose of this study is to support the claim that architecture can have an impact on the built environment that accelerates healing in its residents, while developing their mental health. An initial review of related literature was completed to arrive at a map of architectural qualities that would create an environment better suited not only to heal, but also provide a dignified lifestyle to the women victims of armed conflict. The literature covered various aspects of design, culture, and model of care as important branches to yield the therapeutic milieu in the shelter design. Previous studies that focus on PTSD in women civilians are rare, but to understand design protocol in developing countries, two precedents were analyzed on facilities that catered to a population with similar issues and symptoms. The final step included studying two shelters were picked that had environmental qualities that previous literature had supported as healing qualities, with the additional community participation from the general public and health professionals on their perception of their immediate surrounding and the common problems associated with typical rehabilitation institutions. All the phases of the study were compared at the end to positively assert that the architecture does have an impact on the wellbeing of human lives. The primary emphasis of the shelter design was to promote empowerment, independence, freedom and control, and the confidence to reintegrate into the society. With the set of goals, and elements for a therapeutic environment, the precedents and the case studies, the results extract cultural design trends and spatial characteristics that are apt for a design of this nature that do not follow the typical American standards. The results can be used as a tool to architects, health professionals, administrators and other professionals to achieve an awareness to work together to birth an environment that can accelerate the healing of mental trauma.

publication date

  • April 2020