Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)

Legacy Department


First Advisor

George C. Means Jr.

Second Advisor

Gayland B. Witherspoon

Third Advisor

A. E. Schwartz


The incidence of mental retardation and the lack of adequate facilities and programs for assisting the mentally retarded are preventing many capable individuals from becoming self-sufficient and participating members of our society. Recent research, however, has shown that this situation need not exist, but that because of many compounded problems it is prevalent in almost every community across the United States. Architecturally restrictive facilities that fail to reinforce the educational goals of the retarded and curiculums which dno not concentrate on meeting individual needs combine with the negative attitudes os society to stigmatize the mentally retarded and their condition. Other factors such as improper diagnosis and evaluation, poor referral by social agencies and the absence of parent counseling services all work to fissure family integration and stability in homes where a mentally retarded child is present. Combine the above factors with and undefined social role and it becomes obvious that prompt inspection and aid must be provided for this segment of society in these people are to realize their potentials and worth in life. It is the purpose of this thesis to propose an innovative setting whose intent is to normalize the behavior of the mentally retarded by providing appropriate services and activities and by architecturally reinforcing appropriate behavior in the mentally retarded. In consideration of this problem, research was conducted and is presented. This data provides factual evidence that comprehensive community centers are an appropriate methodology for providing social adjustment and self-care services to educable and trainable mentally retarded individuals. Architectural criteria was then developed to direct the effective architectural expression of user need and goals. An appropriate facility proposal (A Human Resource Center) for Greenville, South Carolian, is then presented with emphasis on an architectural design that supplements its operations. In summary, a facility of this nature cannot meet the total scope of needs for all levels of mental retardation. It can, however, provide services and programs at an easily accessible location which exist to promote the social adjustment of those mentally retarded individuals capable of maintaining some degree of self-sufficiency. Throughout the scope of this thesis the author has acted in the role of architect and health care planner, a combination of roles which is necessary to provide new health care and other services for the mentally retarded.