Rebecca Krinke's (Landscape Architecture) "Table for Contemplation and Action" is designed for student stress reduction and located in the interior public courtyard of Rapson Hall. The table employs changing elements of nature and provides students with the opportunity to write about stress and to deposit these writings into the table itself. The six foot square wooden table has a central copper box containing a single unusual element from the outdoors -- to date, these have included pine needles, tree bark, leaves, and moss. A large hand-blown glass vessel -- designed by Michael Boyd and Peter Zelle of Zelle Glass Studio -- attached to the table is the repository for the student writings. W.L. Hall Workshop Manager Keven Groenke and Assistant Manager Justin Kindelspire fabricated the table for Krinke.
"The project uses research that talks about how contact with nature has beneficial impact on human health," Krinke tells Adam Spencer writing for the Pioneer Press. The research to which Krinke refers is a study by the University of Michigan that found hospital patients who had a view of nature from their rooms had shorter stays and needed fewer painkillers.
The students use expressive writing techniques to reduce stress. "When you're stressed, it's helpful to just write about it," Krinke tells Spencer. "It will diminish the emotional charge of it." Spencer reports that when the glass vessel containing the students' writings is full, Krinke will "burn the writings without reading them, part of a social contract with the table's users."
A photograph by Warren Bruland (Imaging Lab) was used in Spencer's article.
Ed. note December 23, 2009: Rebecca Krinke sends a correction noting her project drew from research by Roger S. Ulrich of Texas A&M and from Rachel Kaplan and Stephen Kaplan of the University of Michigan.