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


In the recent past, a significant amount of research has been conducted into hospital and home environments for physically handicapped children. However, little has been done at the intermediate level of in-patient convalescent care. Furthermore, children who are away from home in any institutional setting tend to regress and unlearn newly acquired skills regardless of their mental or physical state. Given this problem, research into its elements is presented. Irrespective of age or disability, an institutionalized handicapped child still has developmental potential and should receive the same challenges, stimulations, and opportunities for emerging independence of mind and body that a normal child experiences. The problem is discussed, therefore, in terms of the handicapped child's experiential needs and enfironmental stimuli relative to that of a nonhandicapped child. This provides a basis to support the hypothesis that the architectural environment of these children should and can enhance treatment methodology which fights regression and which, furthermore, provides the challenge and stimulation -- mental, physical, and social -- which will allow the child to progress to his potential level. Design criteria are presented focusing on the experiential needs of the handicapped child at both an individual and a group level. Emphasis is also placed on staff/child/family interrelationships and their programmatic considerations. A possible architectural application is then shown relative to a site in Columbia, South Carolina, in the form of an 80-bed convalescent care center for physically handicapped children.