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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The aim of this thesis is to create an architectural design for youth that is informed by and in response to current trauma informed healthcare guidelines and research about wellness, with a focus on safety, trustworthiness, and empowerment.

70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives, which stems into a larger risk factor public health group for substance abuse disorders and behavioral health issues (SAHMSA, 2014). “Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being” (National Council for Behavioral Health, 2013).

Understanding how trauma can affect humans and applying this information from a human centered approach helps architectural designers create spaces that cultivate wellbeing. These spaces acknowledge the needs of the user by integrating the knowledge of trauma into its design phase, from beginning to end. As a result, re-traumatization is avoided, and a user-focused space can be created.

This paper will evaluate and combine research about how to care for traumatized patients in the healthcare setting with research about how spaces make us feel, to create a community center with a focus in mental health outreach in Easthampton, MA. This project addresses the idea that design and space do have an influence on healing in various settings.


First Advisor

Sana B Litchfield

Second Advisor

Ela D. Walker

Included in

Architecture Commons