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Accessible Architecture: Architectural Intervention in the Cycle of Homeless Youth with Substance Abuse Disorders

Through the analysis and synthesis of homeless facilities, programs, services, and financial reports, along with the experiences of unaccompanied homeless youth, ages 12-24, who struggle with substance abuse, a cycle of homelessness is developed. Temporary, dispersed, and accessible architecture can intervene within the cycle of homelessness to limit the large amounts of youth that are homeless while providing qualitative care. This project identifies the significance of maintaining existing support systems and family infrastructure defined by the homeless communities and recognizes the existing facilities and services available while considering the experiences, basic necessities, and support systems of homeless youth. The development of a campus, consisting of architecture and programs that can meet the needs of homeless youth struggling with substance abuse, such as access to mental and physical health facilities, housing for groups, and education and community integration centers, is defined by interviews with homeless youth and narrative-based research. By providing a multitude of mobile, temporary, and static facilities dispersed throughout the city, homeless youth gain more access to health services, housing, education, business practices, and community preservation and integration. The comparison of the campus to existing practices allows for the ability to determine how successful the project will be based on the amount of qualitative and quantitative care that can be provided within the determined accessible region and within the designated financial amount.





Architecture [M.Arch]




Sarah Burgess

Sarah is a current graduate student and recent graduate from Lawrence Tech, completing her B.S.Arch in the spring of 2021 and her M.Arch in the spring of 2022. During her time at LTU, Sarah participated on the Women’s Tennis team. She also received several architectural scholarships for her work in the program. Sarah is currently working at NORR Detroit as an Architectural Designer for restaurants. She is also studying to become LEED certified this summer. When Sarah is not working or coaching tennis, you can find her hanging out with her dogs at home, working on projects around the house, or out hiking with her family.

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