The ‘Invisible’ Dialogues | Durgaa

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Final review!

Problem statement:

Social drinking has become an acceptable norm, so binge drinking, and
alcohol abuse goes unnoticed and is deemed normal behavior.
Job stress, peer pressure, and family background contribute to a person getting addicted to alcohol. However, many individuals with addiction disorders have large treatment gaps because of the stigma towards alcohol. As a result,
alcohol addicts who require community and familial support are side-lined,
worsening their addictive behaviors.

Furthermore, the built environment does not provide enough distraction or promote recovery, instead, it triggers alcohol cravings in individuals.
Hence this project aims to create a safe and affirming environment for addicts to recover and to prevent relapse.

Human scale

The human scale suggests that at <10m, we are able to engage in meaningful conversations with others. At 25m, we are able to see expressions but interactions are not as meaningful, at 100m, we are only able to observe them.

Access control

Newman’s natural surveillance says that an area is safer when people feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for that piece of a community. Access control is a design concept directed primarily at decreasing crime opportunity by denying access to a crime target. This concept is important in the design of a residential tower that promotes recovery as individuals should feel a sense of belonging to the community and that sense of community bond would prevent them from purchasing alcohol. Windows should face each other for effective interaction and surveillance, when they are faced away, it creates a dark spot that is susceptible to the consumption/purchase of alcohol.​

Panopticon Prison

From the tower, a guard can see every cell and inmate, but the inmates can’t see into the tower. Prisoners will never know whether they are being watched, which forces them to behave at all times. This concept could be drawn into the layout of my residential tower where the residential towers become the observatory guard tower to guard other towers. And at the same time, it has a visual connection to the shops, where addicts have access to alcohol.

Groot Klimmendaal Rehab centre

The layout of the patient rooms in this rehab center is on the exterior to maximize lighting. There is an extensive number of passages designed to encourage patients to walk more and for staff to watch patients as they move around. The staircase which runs the height of the building facilitates a direct route between different floors and provides alternative routes too.​

Key insights

These are the key insights gained from conversations with professionals and recovered addicts, from case studies, and hence, derived at the design principles of my design.


Sectionally, I created 3 vertical plazas for community interaction between residents. On the 2nd level, it is a food market, on the 9th level it is a get-away and mingle zone and the roof is for horticulture therapy. On the ground level, there are small water bodies together with green spaces for residents to sit and mingle. Furthermore, the spill out of the hawker Centre and provision shops (which are the alcohol access points) are within the eyes of the community and as a result, addicts try not to disappoint their community. Furthermore, the evening is redefined with this concept to create more vibrant and energetic central spaces to provide healthy distractions and community support. On the 2 sides of the building, there are sports zones for residents to exercise and play or for residents to hold inter block competitions.


Highlighted in beige shows the working rooms. As more and more adults are working from home, and as statistics shows, alcohol consumption has increased due to covid, hence the building provides office spaces for residents to work in, while bonding with members of their community. This central plaza of level 9 serves mainly as a getaway or mingle space for residents where there are singular seats and round table seats for interaction. It could also serve as a space for residents to have their lunch after work, together. The organic outline of the residential building on the inside creates a softer and more welcoming approach to show the life and bond of the community. Different floors have different corridors to create a vertical community. Furthermore, the corners of the horseshoe layout create pockets of interaction opportunities where members of the community can spend time together or reflect on their own. These spaces may be with bean bags where they can lounge or with benches from these vantage points. As for the roof plaza, it is used for horticulture therapy, where residents can plant together, cook together and eat together. There is a communal kitchen and tables and chairs for gathering.


my building hopes to provide a community bond between residents with programs and to provide distraction and relaxation zones within each tower, each floor, and each unit to help addicts cope with their cravings and promote recovery. It aims to encourage the community to provide support to those recovering instead of side-lining them. Rehabilitation starts at home.

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