ARCHITECTURE OF ALCOHOL ADDICTION RECOVERY CENTRES

ABSTRACT

This study is concerned with the planning and design considerations of treatment centres dedicated to the rehabilitation of alcoholics. An existing concern is the clear disconnect between availability of treatment centres and the culture of seeking medical or social interventions to address alcoholism.

Treatment was traditionally provided in community (home) settings with little knowledge of the specialized care necessary for successful treatment. With advancements in medicine after World War I, developed hospitals and clinics were later tasked with treatment of illnesses caused by alcohol abuse. Resulting from specialization in medicine, which broke down the structure of care provided to patients, and client courage to openly seek treatment, hospital intervention is now supplemented with therapy provided in dedicated facilities. These facilities focus on instilling accountability to self and others as a means of achieving rehabilitation and maintaining abstinence, while hospitals focus on treating the resultant physical side effects of long-term abuse.

Rehabilitation facilities have gradually changed from hospital – like institution designs to a more friendly and residential approach in a bid to reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism and the need for therapeutic interventions. This approach has however suffered too literal an interpretation, with common practice being the retrofitting of residences to accommodate clients. This limits the flexibility of treatment processes, as they should ideally be tailored to individual client needs, based on the severity of alcohol abuse. Planning and design guidelines are therefore not clearly defined, since the initial designs of residential buildings are as varied as the architects involved, the needs of the owners and building materials.

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