In an attempt to temporarily get away from life’s stresses and the fast-paced life that characterizes life in the 21st Century, people withdraw from their
regular occupation and take vacations for purposes of recreation or tourism. This is made possible by special facilities that focus on retreat as their sole
duty and aim in order to satisfy a need that most if not all people have. However, the relief is short lived and people eventually return to the very
circumstances that heaped enough pressure on them for them to need a vacation at a special retreat facility. If only the experience at the retreat
facilities could be replicated in the day to day life and environment of all individuals then the retreat experience would be more abundant and life’s
stressors would possibly be less.
This research seeks to investigate the retreat environment in Kenya, herein termed as psychosocially supportive design, with the aim of deducing the
feasibility of a replication of such restorative environments in non-retreat specialised settings. Building on existing information regarding the design and
planning of restorative environments, the study asks; Is it possible to have a non-retreat related built environment such as in offices and cities that is
generally restorative and can such an environment be created.
Based on the review of literature concerning health promotion and psychosocially supportive design, a critical analysis of given retreat facilities is
conducted to investigate which peculiar qualities make the given facilities retreat oriented and how do they perform as retreat facilities. The results show
that active design, social support design and biophilic design are the key components that actively make a place restorative.
It is therefore recommended that if psychosocial support, as realised through active design, social support design and biophilic design, is made a
deliverable at inception of any given project, regardless of the building function, the resultant built environment will be restorative.