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Child Abuse Intervention Center




J. Davis Harte




Intervention Center

This practice and research project is an adaptive reuse project designed for a child abuse-intervention center.  The center purchased a large (8,000 sq ft) building built in 1980, originally designed for financial services.  The abuse-intervention center has led a multi-year design process to remodel and expand the building to facilitate an increase in quality and quantity of services.  The project described here used both a rapid ethnography process and trauma-informed design knowledge, which may be seen as an exemplar of seeking balance between practicality of practice and of epistemological standards.  Although there is some evidence to inform the physical design for domestic abuse residential shelters and for substance-abuse centers, there is a notable lack of evidence to inform child abuse-intervention center built design.  Similarly, although there has been some advance recently, there is still sparse trauma-informed design evidence for any setting.  The current design process for child abuse intervention centers often seems to be determined by center staff preferences and the architectural teams’ understanding of precedence.  This project seeks to address this gap in the trauma-informed evidence-based design knowledge.  Upon engagement as the environmental designer for the project, the researcher applied both a trauma-informed design evidence and a rapid ethnographic process.  Expectations for an on-going design iteration process, amongst the interdisciplinary team, strengthened the design outcomes.

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