Creating empathetic architecture for the frail elderly: Socio-political goals as criteria in an architectural competition
2011 (English)In: Architectural Competitions: Research inquiries and experiences / [ed] Magnus Rönn, Reza Kazemian, Jonas E Andersson, Stockholm: Axl Books , 2011, 1, 260-301 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
In 2006, the Swedish municipality of Jaerfaella arranged an open architecturalcompetition focusing on future-oriented architectonic visions forelderly citizens. The location would be in a new residential area that wouldbe developed at a former airbase. The jury assessment report praised thetown plan in the winning Danish entry, but concluded that the majority ofthe thirty-three entries, including the winner, had designed rather conventionalhousing for elderly citizens who would have need of daily assistanceand care. This paper is based upon findings in a single case study, andfocuses on the municipal organizer’s decision-making process in arrangingan open municipal architectural competition. The research material consistedof interviews, offcial records, drawings and other relevant documentationof the process. The collected research material implied that the organizationof an architectural competition in a Swedish municipality is a vivavoce process, where spoken arguments are summarized in writing. Havingdelimited the case study, structured and thematic questions were designedfor use in interviews with a sample of thirty interviewees. The thematicsection of questions was inspired by the French Photolanguage method,and was used to discuss an important Swedish principle for creating a senseof homeliness for the frail elderly. Twelve interviewees were then identifiedas key informants and their statements were correlated with offcialrecords, drawings and other documentation. The analysis of the researchmaterial called for a guiding theory of discourses integrated into architectureas a field of practice. Based upon the guiding theory, six theoreticalconclusions were formulated: 1) The municipal organizer used divergentdiscourses to assess the feasibility of an open architectural competition; 2)The discourses were shaped by personal experiences with built environmentsfiltered through an individual profession-based framework; 3) Therewere five different discourses: a planning-based, a visionary, an ethical, anda conceptual discourse, all of which interacted with a human-spatial bounddiscourse on ageing and architecture; 4) A concept of integration open forinterpretation unified the five discourses and furthered the possibility ofan architectural competition. The concept was understood differently inthe five discourses; 5) The motives for a competition were connected tothe possibility to market the municipality. 6) The main principle of theSwedish concept of homeliness needs further defining to generate strongerguidelines for architecture.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Axl Books , 2011, 1. 260-301 p.
architectural competition, municipal organizer, discursive model, frail elderly, design process. Introduction Within the study of architecture lies the ambition of realizing a built environment without resemblance to anything built before, something completely nouveau – a dream of the ideal city. One example of such an ideal city would be Vällingby, an ABC-city 1 some 15 kilometres northwest of Stockholm. The town planning and the architecture in this city embody social ambitions spanning from improved housing standards and human working conditions to realizing public welfare goals of democracy and public health (Sax, 1998). The Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans in Franche-Comté, which reflects the ideal city from the Age of Enlightenment, would be another example. A third example would be the small Italian town of Sabbioneta in Lombardy, which is an unfinished realization of the ideal Renaissance city (Marten, 1995). Sabbioneta reflects the Machiavellian vision of the princely autocracy, whereas the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans embodies the enlightened thinking about human existence and the societal responsibilities of an absolute monarchy. The suburb of Vällingby exemplifies the Swedish model of organizing dwelling and work for the modern welfare society.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-33445OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-33445DiVA: diva2:415520
QC 201109202011-05-062011-05-062011-09-21Bibliographically approved