French River, ON


Mental Health Clinic

Scott Sorli

University of Waterloo School of Architecture 

“Multiplicities” is an exploration of the design of mental health clinics. The Addiction and Mental Health Clinic, situated along theFrench River, would work to prevent guests from being forced into the extremes of complete seclusion or immersion in the natural landscape but instead introducing a scale that appeals to the mental journey of recovery. This project aims to focus on the translation of the narrative of transitions, multiplicities, and the sublime of mental health architecturally.

The flowing biomorphic forms would be an extreme response to the site and program to challenge how we think about building typologies for landscape and mental health facilities; the extent to which sensitivity matters in untouched habitats. 

These pods are separate entities on the ground level and project through the enclosed second level and the open roof, creating three planes of interaction, varying on each with solidity and transparency of accessible program, interaction with nature and people. These internal conditions also extend to the landscape, following the language of the main building but providing moments of relief as well as contributing to the idea of varying interactions. The experience of the building in elevation and plan are designed to be different as a way to encourage exploration of internal conditions, spatially and mentally.

These abstractions speak to the spatial experience through the building. The program matrix displays the varying relationships that can be created by the guests - solid/void, opaque/transparent and public/private. It also shows which elements of space exist as singular experiences without any internal decisions. For example, the communal kitchen is intended to serve as a recovery tool through the interaction with others, harbouring a sense of family, therefore displayed as one object. Same goes for the sauna - its satellite location telling of its private nature. On the large plan, we see the biomorphic forms as whole entities - a part of a large program. By clipping it in a square, we can begin to examine direct individual experiences.