SAD IN STOCKHOLM | Stockholm, Sweden | Unit 21 | 2017

Awarded Merit for Thesis
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The length of day varies more dramatically in the Nordic region than most other places in the world. Additionally, both dusk and dawn last longer in this area. These factors mean that Nordic light is unique, with only a few percent of the world’s population living in these type of light conditions. The difference between day and night during the summer and winter are so great that it impacts everyday life.
In Scandinavia, with long dark winters, low levels of sunlight and Vitamin D can cause many health problems. Eleven percent of Swedes have some form of winter depression, and eight percent have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The symptoms of SAD are similar to those of normal depression, but they occur repetitively at a particular time of year. Symptoms include; a loss of interest in normal everyday activities, low self-esteem, feeling stressed or anxious, difficulty sleeping and waking up, becoming less sociable and being less active than normal.

Stockholm consists of a recreational island, Djurgården, known as the city’s ‘Green Lung’. This is where people who live in the city go to escape from urban life. Due to the high percentage of Swedes who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, I have designed a clinic and retreat from the winter blues within this landscape setting. This includes three areas, each of which is intended to help reduce some of the common symptoms of SAD:
Allows visitors to wake up at an earlier time during winter months, with pink diffused light and light funnels to create a coloured, diffused ‘Dawn’ atmosphere before entering the clinics.
Tropical planting and greenhouses allow foods high in Vitamin D to be grown, which can be enjoyed in the Tropical Garden Cafe. Here visitors can meander through tree canopies in a peaceful exotic setting.
Here, alongside high levels of light, visitors are able to carry out a variety of exercises at all times of year. Winter swimming especially, contributes to better general well-being and alleviates some of the symptoms associated with SAD.