11 & 12. PROSPECT & REFUGE

PATTERNS

WELL-BEING BENEFITS

  • IMPROVE Mental Engagement (4)
  • IMPROVE Attentiveness (4)
  • IMPROVE Concentration (4)
INTELLECTUAL
  • IMPROVE Restoration (2, 4)
  • INCREASE Sense of Safety (1,4)
  • INCREASE Preference (1-5)
ENVIRONMENTAL
PHYSICAL
  • INCREASE Stress Reduction (2, 4)
  • INCREASE Relaxation (4)
  • REDUCE Fatigue (4)

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”                                                                                                                                   - John Burroughs

 

THE BASICS

The prospect-refuge theory explains that we prefer particular views and vantage points that are known as prospect (visual access) and refuge (enclosure) (1).   Often, prospect and refuge occur together, although there are times in which one or the other alone may be more desirable.  This prospect-refuge theory draws from both the assumption that humans evolved from the African savannah, (and so prefer habitats that offer similar views and vantage points that allowed us an opportunity for protection and surveillance - think a cave and a meadow) as well as from current studies on human behavior.  Movement through space that allows for prospect and refuge to shift creates a strong resonance (see Mystery & Enticement, for further explanation).

Prospect
Refuge
Image Examples

The "ability to see without being seen." (2)

 
AREAS OF PROSPECT:
  • Balcony
  • Staircase Landing
  • Open floor plan with low partitions 
  • Stairwells with views to interior or exterior provide rich information
  • Shifting ceiling heights can create prospect and refuge opportunities

PROSPECT AREAS (THE MEADOW)

Focal Length > 20 Feet  (Preferably 100 ft.)
 
Partition Heights < 42 inches
Acadia National Park, Maine, USA
Acadia National Park, Maine, USA
Ireland
Ireland
Czechy Krumlov, Czech Republic
Czechy Krumlov, Czech Republic
Tuscan Hills, Italy
Tuscan Hills, Italy
Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Pabst Theater

Halong Bay, Vietnam
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
South Dakota, USA
South Dakota, USA

Badlands National Park

South Dakota, USA
South Dakota, USA

Badlands National Park

Are open and often bright, and are often elevated.

 

Afford the opportunity for surveying the surrounding landscape, offering the opportunity for awareness and observation.

PROSPECT (THE MEADOW)

All Photo Credits: Nicole Craanen

AREAS OF REFUGE:
Basics:
  • An easily accessible place within a larger environment
  • Limited visual access into the place of refuge
  • The person in the place of refuge should feel some connection to the larger space
  • Can be permanent or created as the user sees fit, through adjustable blinds or partitions  
  • A lowered ceiling height complimented with lower lighting.
 
Examples:
  • Seating with high backs
  • Canopy trees
  • Covered walkways
  • Gazebos
  • Private office
  • Telephone pod

REFUGE (THE CAVE)

REFUGE AREAS (THE CAVE)

Focal Length < 20 Feet  

Are a safe place to retreat.

 

Limited visual access into the place of refuge, allowing the person to feel safe while have a connection to the larger space.

Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Madison, Wisconsin, USA

UW-Madison,Union South

Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An, Vietnam

Marble Mountain

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Mill Run, Pennsylvania, USA
Mill Run, Pennsylvania, USA

Falling Water Guest House

Chicago, Illinois, USA
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Italy
Italy

Church

Pompeii, Italy
Pompeii, Italy
Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy

Boboli Gardens, the Buontalenti Grotto

Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain

Casa Batllo

 

All Photo Credits: Nicole Craanen

 

Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen

Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen