Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterised by excessive anxiety and worries that one finds hard to control. A person is diagnosed with GAD when he or she finds it hard to control the worries for 6 months or more. For example, if persons A and B went for a presentation and person A has GAD went for a presentation, he or she would be worried if she has done well for the presentation or if anything was missed out, rather than person B who would just be relieved it is over.
There are 4 main causes of GAD namely, a family history of anxiety, recent or prolonged exposure to stressful situations, including personal or family illnesses, excessive use of caffeine or tobacco, which can make existing anxiety worse, and childhood abuse. Other than these causes, environmental factors, such as noise that lead triggers anxiety can lead also cause prolonged anxiety amongst people with GAD, in short, any triggers of anxiety would last much longer for a person with GAD than a normal person. There are 3 main causes of anxiety via environmental factors among working adults namely, noise, intimidation of buildings caused by high-rise buildings, and density in cities. These findings were based on online articles, as well as interviews with young working adults.
GAD causes one to feel nervous, irritable, or on edge. He or she may also have a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom, which leads to an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating and trembling. Other symptoms include feeling weak or tired, difficulty concentrating, having trouble sleeping and gastrointestinal problems.
GAD was picked as the choice to intervene as it is one of the six most concerning mental health issues in 2020, and is a mental health issue that affects people much more than what society perceived it to be. A survey by Cigna in 2019 found that 92 percent of Singapore’s working force are stressed by their jobs, which accounts for 5.3 million people. Out of these people, 1.6 percent are diagnosed with GADm which is equivalent to 83, 200 people. To put it into perspective, Alzheimer’s disease, which is diagnosed in 82, 000 Singaporeans is more widely known and understood in terms of the severity of its effects.
Target Group for Intervention
My intervention aims to de-densify an office via the incorporation of natural elements to help people with GAD to cope with their day-to-day work lives. The choice of industry is the design industry, as this industry has added features to their offices other than the conventional layouts and functions of a conventional office, so as to cover as much of the office spaces as possible. The design industry is also one of tht top 10 most stressful industries in Singapore.
The route to the site was identified from 2 main MRT stations near the site. It was chosen as by 2030, every household will be 10 minutes walk away from any MRT stations. The routes are then split into 7 zones.
The site was chosen to capitalise on the green element to provide de-densification. The water element was also an opportunity to enhance the effect when it is tied together with the green element. Addiitonally, the Kampong Bugis masterplan planned for the site is inline with what is intended for the office – an office that blends into the park.
The sound levels at each zone is analysed. Each ring represents 10 decibels and it gets noiser from Zone 3 onwards. This presents an opprtunity to create an alternative path to the site.
The building height for differnt zones were also analysed. Generally, the presence of the high rises and close proximity induces anxiety, even when there is flat ground around them. This is especially evident in Zone 3.
The number of people that passes by along each zone is also measured for 3 times and the average is taken to attain the values shown in the picture. The numbe rof people is on the higher side (at least 20) from Zone 3 onwards.
Office Layout Analysis
The design office plans were analysed. The superior’s office is seen as a monitoring space employees feel like they are being monitored by their superiors if they are doing work. The meeting rooms are the interaction space, which can be nerve wreacking sometimes, especially to a large group of people. The working space is where people walk around in the open office, which can be very distracting and makes one feel stress and edgy, especially for long periods of time.
The cubicle module enhances the effect of anxiety, as prolong time in the a small space, can induce spiralling. Open plan layouts can distract employees as people walk by, making them feel that a lot of things are going on at the same time. People with GAD will also feel very edgy, and for a person to apporach them from the many people that are walking around would make them feel attacked. There is also a lack of privacy for an open plan office, which is espcially vital since people with GAD have frequent breakdown episodes.
As mentioned earlier, from Zone 3 onwards, there are many much more sound and people along the way, hence an alternative route can be link to other facilities being intervened by my peers to create part of the big gesture in this masterplan.
Various straegies can be applied. Splitting the parcel via streams presents a soft separation to the site. Splitting via creating pongs create space of respite ans privacy for people with GAD, but can be also used by all. Landscapign shield the office from the hard cityscape and the sounds, mainly from the traffic
Post Midterm Considerations
- The alternative pathway needs to be curated such that the space within is unique and not just serves as an alternative. This can include elements from the offices and park.
- Entrances and the lobby can be curated to be blended into the park.