Date of Submission
Bachelor of Architecture
Behavioral health hospitals in America are failing to treat their patients with lasting success upon patient release. These facilities appear to be safe, sanitary, and pleasant, but our state behavioral health hospitals in the United States are still cold, stark prisons to those trapped within their walls.
Impersonal and insufficient for caring for those with mental illness, these institutions meant for treatment can do more harm than good at a time when an individual is most vulnerable. Used as holding cells where sedated patients are kept until their crises pass, the spaces are no more than prisons designed to maintain complete control over the patient. The healing of many of these individuals seeking help is unsuccessful, and patients are either re-institutionalized, or choose dangerous alternatives to escape their illnesses. Psychiatric hospitals need to be redesigned to promote a better healing environment. This thesis aims to provide the change that is so vital to the health and quality of life of these patients – these people who desperately need help.
A revision of the environment that incorporates respectful patient privacy, community gathering spaces, low social density, access to outdoor green spaces, and ample sunlight to promote mental healing can de-institutionalize the architecture of behavioral health hospitals and lead to better treatment of the patients and a healthier community. Through therapeutic design, this project seeks to provide the crucial transformation that these hospitals, and our community, so fiercely need.