Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture

Degree Level





Webb, Jennifer

Committee Member/Reader

Lee, Jisun

Committee Member/Second Reader

Jacobus, Frank

Committee Member/Third Reader

Sharpless, Charles


Stress is a prevalent issue today. People can become stressed or overstimulated for various reasons, whether it be due to their physical environment, their physiological nature, psychological factors, or a combination. Although the causes of stress for our prehistoric ancestors were mostly periodic events such as predators or weather, modern-day stressors are often persistent and environmental, leading to chronic stress. Also, in today’s world of constant new information and stimulation, especially in urban locations, sensory overload is common. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic and its mental effects have brought new attention to the interaction between physical environment and well-being. The prevalence of stress and other mental health challenges due to the pandemic is an ongoing global issue, and there has been speculation about how architecture might be affected by and could respond to this. When considering these issues, the psychological effects of architecture and design become even more relevant.

This capstone project explores the interactions of stress, architectural design elements, and perception. Taking inspiration from previous research studies on similar topics, this study focused on designed interior spaces of meditation and retreat and their impact on stress. Participants in the study completed an anonymous questionnaire that measured their perceived level of stress. Then, participants viewed eight images of designed interior spaces while completing rating scales for each image. This analysis focused on spaces of meditation and retreat in terms of the experiential qualities of the architecture in order to come to conclusions about what qualities of architecture may influence the effects of stress and overstimulation. This project is meant to lead to a greater understanding of how architecture can moderate stress and have positive psychological effects on people. This project is designed to provide insight into the design of spaces that moderate stress.


environmental psychology, meditation, interior spaces