Interior Design Program


Date of this Version




A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Architecture, Under the Supervision of Professor Betsy Gabb. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Kimberly M. Riege


With a significant amount of research focusing on the design of healthcare facilities, this thesis examined the relationship between specific aspects of green design and their effect on the emotional health and wellbeing of patients in children's healthcare facilities. Case studies of two children's clinics in Omaha, Nebraska were conducted to study the effects a connection to the natural world and the acoustic environment had on patients' emotional state. One case study site was a newly built children's clinic that incorporated a connection to nature with a focus on the acoustic environment while the other was an adaptive reuse building that did not include a connection to nature nor focus on the acoustic environment.

A qualitative mixed method approach was utilized in this study to identify and document a connection to nature and the acoustic environment within the design of these two pediatric clinics as well as study the overall emotional health of patients. The interviews and site tours of each pediatric clinic documented the connection to nature and acoustic environment that was either present or absent in each design. The data obtained through observation of patients at each site showed a slight but meaningful connection between the pediatric clinics and the emotional state of patients. While there were many extraneous variables, including variables not pertaining to the design of the built environment, which may have contributed to the perceived emotional state of children at each clinic, the observational findings combined with the initial literature review show the benefits of incorporating a connection to nature and acoustic environment in pediatric healthcare facilities. These findings also offer a more specific study on the effects of green design on the emotional health of children that should be of value to healthcare designers and healthcare facilities. Due to the limitations of this research, continued research in the area of green design and the emotional health of patients in children's healthcare facilities will clarify and further develop these findings.

Advisor: Betsy Gabb