Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2020

Degree Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Primary Advisor

Arief Setiawan

Secondary Advisor

Chris Welty


At the South Border of the United States, children are being held in facilities for days. While at these facilities, these children do not have the opportunity to learn like other children around their age do. This thesis explores ways to design spaces for children that encourage cognitive development.

By looking at research done by Jean Piaget, Friedrich Froebel, Johanne Pestalozzi, and John Dewey, the thesis will examine the development of a child’s brain, and the development of cognition from birth to adulthood. Jean Piaget, a psychologist, divided the human brain’s development into four stages, the sensorimotor stage, the pre-operational stage, the concrete operational stage, and the formal operational stage. These stages which start from birth and go into adulthood show how the brain develops throughout our lives. Friedrich Froebel, the father of kindergarten, considered play as an important factor in the cognitive development of a child. He, like Piaget and many others before and after him, explored the development of cognition. His studies led him to his theory that play allows a child’s mind to grow, by using imagination, creativity, and haptics to develop their cognition and become critical thinkers.

The research led to key words, such as play, imagination, complexity, and haptics. Using the keywords and the research, a set of geometric volumes were created, which were then used to design a Living Learning Center for the children at the South Border of the United States.

Circumstance or status should not deprive any child from their basic needs. Just because these children are locked up, should cognitive development stop? Can play be the agency for change?

Included in

Architecture Commons