Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)

Legacy Department


First Advisor

George C. Means Jr.

Second Advisor

Robert England

Third Advisor

George Park


Recent interest in the field of mental retardation has brought about an evolutionary development of normalization programs enabling mentally retarded persons to achieve socially accepted standards of personal independence and responsibility within the least restrictive environment possible. Exisiting programs often do not fulfill the basic physical, mental, and social needs of mentally retarded. Frequently this is a result of a lack of empirical data confirming the positive elements of a normalization program. The absence of empirical data has hindered progress in the field of mental retardation. This thesis is concerned with the proposition that basic architectural elements of a normal environment should be statisfied in any setting designed for the implementation or normalization programs. This proposition was expanded to demonstrate the need for a better understanding of the role of architecture in the treatment of the mentally retarded. Contained within the body of this thesis is a breif history of the social responses to mental retardation and the institutional architecture which evolved from this response. In addition, basic conceptual architectural settings of a normal environment are documented as they relate to the needs of the mentally retarded. Integration of conceptual architectural responses and basic elements of normalization prgrams are presented to illustrated factors which may assist architects in the design of facilities for the mentally retarded. The results of the assimilated research and the research of the author allowed for the development of factors that could assist architects in the design of facilities for the mentally retarded.