Restorative Justice & Community Center
M. Arch I Core Studio, Fall 2018
Yale School of Architecture
Professor: Laura Briggs
Site: New London, CT
This proposal explores the theory that architecture can positively impact human health and well-being by implementing concepts of cognitive science, biophilia, and environmental psychology research. The program for the Community Center revolves around a new typology, Restorative Justice Centers, in which people are brought together in a seated circle to repair a harm committed in the community. The Restorative Justice rooms are supported by other community programs, in this case an Urban Farm and Lab, a theater, offices, and gallery spaces. Therefore, the meeting rooms and supporting spaces in this typology benefit immensely by architecture that promotes healing from a scientific approach. The project addresses this design challenge through attention to scale, material, daylighting, and connecting with nature (both physical and visual), as required by the program and use of each space. For instance, the meeting rooms require a more comfortable environment that is intimate and secure. Therefore, the scale of this room is smaller to create comfortable fields of vision, utilizes warm materials, manages natural daylight levels, and emphasizes views to the public park to maintain contact with nature. This detailed approach is applied throughout the building proposal, which is characterized by a living atrium and ‘greenway’ to maximize interaction with nature year-round. The proposal harmoniously blends scientific research and spatial design to promote the health and well-being of its occupants from the moment they enter the building.