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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 built environment can inadvertently create obstacles for human cognition, emotion, and behavior when ill-designed, neglected, or poorly retrofitted. Deteriorating education facilities exemplify the lack of awareness in regard to the significant relationship between people and their environments. However, simply updating a school does not always accommodate occupant needs, especially for students who are sensitive to external stimuli. Students in behavioral schools who suffer from emotional behavioral disorder (EBD) often display adverse neurological affects from negative life experiences. Common disorders comorbid with EBD, as well as EBD itself, interferes with their ability to control and manage behavior. By identifying common challenges, the proposed behavioral school in Northampton, Massachusetts aims to support the building’s program and occupants to achieve specific goals, i.e. academic standards, and behavioral self-management. Environmental-behavior and neuropsychology principles are implemented in overarching themes including biophilic design, behavior defined space, safety, and transitions.

Strategic design elements aim to assist students relearning behavior by clearly defining which behaviors are acceptable in specific spaces within the school and by addressing common cognitions and emotions often associated with the negative behavior. These implementations range from broad environmental-behavioral-neurology principles that manifest themselves in the built environment to address place, personalization, territory, and wayfinding, down to smaller details, including strategically framed exterior views. Unlike traditional day schools, this demographic is tasked with the extremely difficult goal to restructure their consciousness from the inside out, in addition to the baseline academic requirements. As the largest physical teaching tool, the school itself assists the sensitive students and hardworking staff in their transitional journey.


First Advisor

Ray K. Mann

Included in

Architecture Commons