Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)

Legacy Department


Committee Chair/Advisor

Allison, David J

Committee Member

Jacques , John D

Committee Member

Pruitt , Rosanne H

Committee Member

Harding , Daniel N


The intent of this project is to explore what and how specific architectural features can contribute to a holistic therapeutic environment for adolescents in an inpatient behavioral health care setting. Mental health facilities in the U.S. historically have been highly institutional spaces designed to restrain and isolate persons with mental health problems from society. These facilities have often been designed under a misunderstanding of the needs of individuals with behavioral health issues, frequently thinking that they are incompetant or criminal and are therefore incapable of participating in the community. This belief is a result of stigma toward behavioral health. This project is based on the belief that behavioral health facilities have the ability and responsibility to facilitate the care delivery process. Future behavioral health facilities for adolescents need to foster the recovery process to enable these individuals to become productive members of society. This can be achieved through designing spaces to: respect the individual dignity of the patient, allow him or her to connect to the surrounding environment, and facilitate their [re]integration into society. This research project is designed to explore and promote a well-rounded approach to designing recovery-oriented space through architecture in behavioral health care settings. It explores how the architecture of behavioral health care environments can directly promote the health and wellness of patients within these facilities, promoting opportunities for positive interaction with fellow patients, staff, the community, and exposure to the natural environment. To this end, the study is composed of two major parts. First, a literature review establishes a knowledge base of the current best practices of the delivery of care to adolescents in inpatient behavioral health care settings and of the architectural strategies that affect this care delivery. In addition, a case study analysis investigates current best case studies for the design in inpatient behavioral health care settings for adolescents throughout the world. This analysis leads to the development of seven architectural strategies which can be used to develop places that truly foster the recovery process for adolescents with behavioral health problems. These guidelines include: (1) Orient functions around a central greenspace (2) Filter light according to function (3) Eliminate the corridor (4) Create clear views to and from staff work areas (5) Provide group and private patient rooms (6) Create opportunities for small and large group interactions (7) Use 'safe' materials and furnishing A design proposal for a 36 bed, 46,588 GSF inpatient behavioral health care setting for adolescents in North Charleston, SC forms a test case of these guidelines. Three twelve-bed units compose the facility: one for female adolescents, one for low acuity male adolescents, and one for high acuity female adolescents. The design suggests alternatives and strategies for future growth for the program. This design proposal is intended to be a model of how these ideal principles can be applied in a practical setting.

Included in

Architecture Commons



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