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Creating empathetic architecture for the frail elderly: Socio-political goals as criteria in an architectural competition
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture. (ArcPlan Research group)
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)
Abstract [en]

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.
Keyword [en]
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.
National Category
Architecture
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-33445OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-33445DiVA: diva2:415520
Note
QC 20110920Available from: 2011-05-06 Created: 2011-05-06 Last updated: 2011-09-21Bibliographically 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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