Communitas House: a Canadian hospice incorporating medical assistance in dying

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Imlah, Lindsay
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Recently legalized in Canada, Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) has generated a demand for interior environments that can adapt to the evolving rituals associated with end-of-life and death. In the case of MAID, the right to choose where and how to die puts emphasis on the quality of interior environments that accompany death rituals. Inspired by this human rights issue, this Interior Design Practicum project focuses on the design of Communitas House, a hospice that aims to enhance the quality of life for patients, their families and the caregivers providing access to MAID. The design aims to promote psychological, physical, spiritual and emotional wellness through the interior design experiences surrounding MAID. Located within Crescent Park Drive in Winnipeg, MB, Communitas House includes the design re-use of an existing resort building, which will be architecturally adapted and built on the site. Surrounded by the natural environment, Communitas House takes advantage of the healing benefits of biophilic design through the direct and indirect inclusions of nature, as well as symbolic connections. This practicum translates liminality and the study of collective end-of-life rituals to highlight the importance of social support through MAID death experiences. The essence of living in the moment and the associated feelings of sanctuary, security, and comfort is explained through the concept of hygge. The resulting design solution emphasizes the benefits of social ritual practices and natural influences in supporting MAID end-of-life experiences.
Interior design, Medical assistance in dying, MAID, biophilic design, liminality