Architectural psychology and its impact on child development : a proposed educational facility for physically disabled children.
The modern world is rapidly advancing towards a technological age where every aspect of people’s lives revolves around scientific innovations and consumerism. These advancements have allowed architects to traverse many boundaries and the design of buildings almost seems limitless. However, this has also caused a shift in architecture to focus on the visual aspects of buildings. Most human beings are born with the use of all of their senses and it is through this that we use, understand and appreciate the built environment. However, if a building fails to entice one’s sense of touch or even smell, then architecture has lost its true meaning; that of designing for people and not solely for consumerism. More often than not, children are also avid users of buildings and architecture, which has lost its essence of appealing to all of our senses, also loses its fascination to children as well. Early childhood is the stage in life where people use their senses to the fullest capacity and it is through the perception of our surroundings that we learn, form meanings and identities. This dissertation thus aims to understand how the built environment psychologically affects children and how also, children perceive their surroundings. With that in mind, the purpose of this dissertation is twofold. Firstly, it sets out to investigate aspects of architectural psychology/perception and its relation to children and secondly, it will seek to understand how physical disabilities such as blindness and mobility impairments impact upon the design of buildings. This will set the brief for the design of an Educational Facility for Physically Disabled children, where all of these characteristics will be considered. Through this study, specific characteristics of architectural psychology will be investigated. These include the following: understanding the human senses, sensory emotions and experiences, the effects of colour and light, legibility, wayfinding, place identity related to personal identity and thus critical regionalism and phenomenology. Lastly, the importance of creating sustainable environments and the importance of nature to children will also be looked into, as well as creating safety for children in any type of environment. This research will study the multi – faceted aspects that comprise architecture for the disabled. Therefore, the research will encompass both primary and secondary sources, including relevant precedent and case studies. This research will ultimately provide a design brief, which will inform the eventual outcome for the design of an Educational Facility for Physically Disabled Children.