Healthcare Architecture Master´s Thesis 2021

Ella Davidsson


An architectural exploration of a Dance/Movement Therapy Centre

Dance/movement therapy is one of the expressive therapies, using the creation of art as a means for therapy. In contrast to the traditional way of working with arts, the focus is on the process rather than the outcome of the artwork. Expressive therapy can be especially useful for people who find it hard to put feelings, experiences or memories into words, as an complementary way of processing.

American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) defines dance/movement therapy as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual, for the purpose of improving health and well-being.” Dance/movement therapy examens the correlation between movement and emotions, focusing on the holistic view where body and mind are interconnected.

This thesis aims to bring attention to the benefits of dace/movement therapy as a psychotherapeutic treatment by exploring how the typology of a Dance/Movement Therapy Centre can be incorporated in the area of Linnégatan in Gothenburg. It seeks to understand how the design requirements of the practice can be embodied and how to develop a program to facilitate the needs. This can contribute to a further understanding of the design choices impact on the psychotherapeutic treatment.

The proposed building within the framing of this thesis deals with the complexity of an urban site, focusing on spatial organisation and materiality. By working with glass blocks as facade material, the building reaches the state of being translucent, but not transparent. The building is enclosed and provides a safe space for therapy, yet with generous daylight, embracing the playful patterns generated by the illuminated glass block facade.

The aim of this thesis to communicate the benefits of, and the need for, a Dance/Movement Therapy Centre in Gothenburg, as well as the architectural beauty it can behold.

Keywords: dance/movement therapy, mental health, urban expression, glass blocks

Thesis questions

How can architecture enhance the use of dance/movement therapy
as a psychotherapeutic treatment?

How can the typology of a Dance/Movement Therapy Centre be
materialized in an urban context?