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Appropriating space in an assisted living residence: On architecture and elderly frail people's spatial use
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture. (ArcPlan Research group)
2011 (English)In: Considering Research: Proceedings of the ARCC spring research conference 2011 / [ed] Architectural Research Centers Consortium, Southfield, MI: Lawrence Technological University , 2011, 1-19 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

An assisted living residence with identical layout for two non-special care units (NSCU) and twospecial care units (SCU), designated as an exemplary model, was used as a test bed for this study on elderlypeople’s spatial appropriation of communal space. Using qualitative research methods (interviews,participatory observations, TESS-NH), eighteen residents’ spatial usages were mapped. Thereafter, tenresidents with dominantly somatic diseases were interviewed as to their appreciation and use of thecommunal space. Using the same qualitative interviewing guide, three staff members were interviewed inrelation to eight persons with dementia. The collected data was analyzed by use of the Lynchean imageabilitypentad. Depending on the residents’ age-related problem and the specific conditions in situ, the elderlypersons’ spatial usages of the individual unit could be described graphically in a mental map. A place-makingprocess was the motivating force behind this spatial appropriation, conditioned by age-related problems. Atthe NSCUs, the elderly spurred this process themselves by developing a pattern consisting of movementstowards places open for activities, contact and social interaction. On the other hand, at the SCUs, thedementia diagnosis affected this pattern. At these units, the movements and the places depended upon theelderly person’s dependency on the staff for self-affirmation and calm. The overarching conclusion of thisstudy is that an appropriate architectural space for an assisted living residence reinforces the place-makingprocess, either the one of the elderly frail people, or the one staged by the staff. Besides generalrequirements of accessibility, functionality, and usability, this type of architecture needs to employ spatialelements that constitute a communal space that fosters an appropriative process based on the sensuousstimulation exploitable at a particular place. Thus, architecture acquires a supportive quality that nourishesthe perceived homeliness by the elderly people themselves, or as staged by the staff.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Southfield, MI: Lawrence Technological University , 2011. 1-19 p.
Keyword [en]
assisted living architecture, architectural design, age-related problems, appropriation, mental maps
National Category
Architectural Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-33444ISBN: 9781257321896 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-33444DiVA: diva2:415518
Conference
ARCC 2011 Detroit, USA
Note
QC 20110930Available from: 2011-05-06 Created: 2011-05-06 Last updated: 2011-10-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Architecture and Ageing: On the Interaction between Frail Older People and the Built Environment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Architecture and Ageing: On the Interaction between Frail Older People and the Built Environment
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This doctoral thesis deals with the type of architecture that materializes when age-related problems become a long-term condition (LTC) and gradually restrain the individual’s ability to perform activities in daily life (ADL). Their life situation necessitates a support from relatives or municipal eldercare staff in order for them to continue to participate in everyday living. In addition, the architectural space requires a close adjustment to the personal panorama of cognitive or functional impairments. The habitat can be a flat appropriated many years previously or in a residential care home for dependent and frail seniors. Architecture for ageing with dependency demonstrates how space can be used either to affirm or oppress the older person’s attempts to maintain an independent life style. By use of design theory, case study methodology and a heterogeneous research strategy, this study uses a threefold approach—a retrospective, a contemporaneous, and a future-oriented approach—to explore frail older people’s interaction with the architectural space of residential care homes. This has resulted in seven papers that focus on aspects of these human interactions with the built environment. Based on twelve exemplary models, the research paper I concludes that national guidelines result in a homelike, a hotel-like or a hospital-like environment. Research paper II is a retrospective study that examines the use of architecture competitions as a socio-political instrument to define architectural guidelines. Research paper III focuses on dependent seniors’ spatial appropriation of the communally shared space of a ward in a residential care home. Research paper IV employs two environmental assessment methods from the architecture profession and gerontological research (TESS-NH) in order to evaluate the use of interior colouring when refurbishing two residential care homes while the residents remained in place. Research paper V displays a municipal organizer’s considerations to opt for an architecture competition as a means of renewing architecture for the ageing population. Research paper VI examines competition documentation of three municipal architecture competitions organized during the period of 2006 to 2009. Research paper VII, the final study, explores notions concerning the appropriate space for ageing found among a group of municipal representatives, and people from organizations defending older people’s right. It supplies a model for understanding the appropriate space for ageing. This study illustrates the absence of older people with frailties in the public discussion about appropriate architecture for ageing. During the 20th century, the multi-dimensional idea of an architectural space with a homelike appearance has been used to contrast the negatively charged opposite—the complete and austere institution. The overarching conclusion of this study is that architecture for dependent and frail seniors constitutes a particular type of built space that requires an extended dialogue involving dependent seniors, architects, building contractors and care planners in order to conceive appropriate architecture for the ageing society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: E-print AB, 2011. viii, 186 p.
Series
Trita-ARK. Akademisk avhandling, ISSN 1402-7461 ; 2011:3
Keyword
residential care home architecture, architecture competition, user values and planning considerations, appropriate space for ageing, homelikeness, societal building
National Category
Architecture
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-40483 (URN)
Public defence
2011-10-12, F3, Lindstedtsväg 26, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20110921Available from: 2011-09-21 Created: 2011-09-16 Last updated: 2011-09-21Bibliographically approved

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  • apa
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