Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

First Advisor

Reberto Ventura

Second Advisor

Sara Reed


Work-related stress is an issue of growing concern around the world.[1] The relationship between work stress and individuals’ psychological and physical health is well acknowledged.[2] In the survey of “stress in the workplace” conducted by American Psychological Association in 2012, two in five (41%) of employed adults report that they typically feel stressed during the workday, up from 36% in 2011, while less than six in ten (58%) report that they have the resources to manage work stress.[3] Historically, Central Business Districts are a focal point of cities, and are occupied by a large group of office buildings and a number of retail spaces. According to Elsbach and Bechky (2007), office workers regularly leave their offices in search of more relaxed, creative environments.[4] However, there is limited "third space" to serve office workers' daily life in the central business district. Most of the design research about wellness of office workers have done focus on the spaces in which people work during office hours. Consideration for office workers in the CBD after office hours is relatively rare. What else is needed to support the life of the office worker, and what kind of spaces they are looking for after hours. Several primary research methods were adopted. First, a survey of research on how the design of traditionally planned CBDs fails to support wellness of office workers was made. Then, the thesis examined what is needed to support the wellness of office workers. In order to make it be specific to the office workers in the CBD of Richmond, qualitative methodology, including interviews and video records of the daily CBD living habits were made. In addition, case studies of recently done CBDs that tackle this question. The Shibaura House, designed by Kazuyo Sejima, located in the business district of Tokyo in Japan, will serve as a primary case study. There are three aims in this research. First is the design of a series of mixeduse spaces in an existing building in the Central Business District of Richmond to support the life of office workers after office hours. It also aims to improve wellness of the office workers in the CBD of Richmond, and try to define the CBD in a new way. The preliminary results for this research indicates the importance of the concern for office workers after hours. It is necessary to focus on the practical effect of the mixed-use building on reducing work stress, improving office workers’ health and enhancing wellness of office workers.


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