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


Extended life expectancy, a relatively recent phenomenon, has increased not only the total number of older persons in our population but also the percentage of older persons in that population. Other recent influences include the forced retirement of older people (usually at the arbitrary age of 65), and the dissipation of the extended family. Combine the above factors with an undefined social role, with negative attitudes about old age, with decreasing mobility, with the rampant increase in the cost of living, and the lack of coordinated services and programs for older people, and it becomes obvious that immediate attention and assistance must be provided this segment of our population for them to continue to live an active and useful life in their later years. All such influences on the lives of older people can be summarized in three basic areas: (1) poverty and financial problems, (2) physical decline, and (3) loneliness and a feeling of uselessness. During the past fifty years, our federal, state, and local governments have established various programs directed to some of the problems of older people. However, of the three basic problem areas, on the first two are really considered by these existing programs: poverty and financial problems, and physical decline. Existing programs have completely neglected the third and perhaps most important problem; loneliness, need for companionship, and usefulness -- in short, having a purpose for living. It is the purpose of this thesis to purpose an appropriate setting in which services for older people aimed at all three of the problem areas can be effectively provided, with particular emphasis placed on the third area. Considering this problem, research was conducted and is presented. This provides a factual basis for support and the hypothesis that comprehensive multi-purpose centers are an appropriate methodology for effectively providing the necessary programs and services for older people. The city of Anderson, South Carolina was chosen as the location in which a facility is proposed. Specific research on Anderson was conducted, including a case-study type survey of the existing older population. A logical facility proposal (a comprehensive multi-purpose center) is then presented, with emphasis placed on site selection and architectural design that enhances it operation. Services provided in the facility are identified and described; they include active and passive activities, adult education, couseling, health screening, immunization, referral, financial and legal counseling, pare-time employment, crafts/shops, physical therapy, food service, civic action participation, outreach, transportation, coordination and referral to other facilities, and administration. It is the final conclusion of the study that a facility of this nature cannot meet the total need of the entire population of other people. It does, however, offer the ability to better coordinate services for older people, and to offer services aimed at providing companionship and purpose in living, and combating loneliness, which heretofore have been lacking. Throughout the investigation, execution, and evaluation phases of this thesis; the author is acting in the role of architect and health care planner. This is a necessary combination of roles if significant progress is to be made in methods of providing health are and other services to the older public, which is a group of people that desperately needs services and consideration at this time in history.