Transcript for presentation:

Usefulness in architecture, accessibility, inclusion and usability as spatial experiences


Jonas E. Andersson


E5. Acoustics, touch and spatial experiences

Date and Time

2014-06-18, 10:50 - 11:10


MA 7

Presentation PDF

Short oral presentation

Transcript of the talk

>> So now we have them giving a talk as spatial experiences.
>> Yes, and I represent the school of institute of architecture where I’m a researcher and assistant professor in some of the courses in continuing education and basic education. And actually, this is a very small study on how to increase awareness about accessibility and usability among architecture students and one of the reasons for this study and for this is because of the school of architecture in Stockholm declined the offer in which he described in 2004 to participate in a project of increasing accessibility and usability in the education of future and designers. It was at a late moment and therefore, the school of architect could not initiate the project and continue with it.
Now, we have well, although I wasn’t part of this decision I can also say share this opinion that accessibility and usability has to be issues that are included directly from the beginning and integral in the design process.
However, we’re trying to increase the knowledge and promote the cause and this is a continuous education course and it only attracted seven women and one man as participants. And we also wanted to promote accessibility and usability and part of this is due to the fact that Sweden is actually aging. We have about 19 percent of the population are older people age 65 years and older and further more, there is this belief in the architect profession that it’s very much about the extierier appearance however, we are to appear the inside experience of space and since the 1930s, ash teches have more or less claimed the role on the human needs and the design of the building.
So therefore, perhaps we work to, in this new sorry, we have to look at how we are as a representation of the brain. And this is a theory proposed by here and it’s the ecological process, sorry, the theorem, the ecological theory on aging and it’s not just aging per se. It’s more or less it’s quite a good theory to use when you compare the effects of architecture for end users because there is always a balance between when the environmental pressure becomes too high and causes stress reactions by the users.
And so you can see that we rejected the participation and on the other hand, we tried to implement it in studio based training which was connected with the practice oriented and actual building types where people represent different disabilities, participated and tried to increase the awareness.
In this case we also tried to implement some knowledge and some experience from the use of this therapeutic screening scale for nursing homes because in previous courses, we have had a special focus on architecture for aging and the positive outcome of this use of this test instrument was one item that we wanted to test in this course.
So it was the type of research based learning that we were trying to implement. And just to mention some words of the test instrument, there are two questions that are particularly interesting because they are holistic and they refer to the assessment of home likeness in a residential care home and the second question is, an over all assessment of the billing whether it’s a pleasant or unpleasant experience and what we found in the previous is that the answers are quite similar, either whether you’re an architect or presenting other professions like care professions or very particular professions.
Although this sheet are very different, these are the assessments of the 19 different residential care homes in Sweden. What we managed to get out of this, what we could correlate the plan, the configuration of the space with the answers. But returning to the course, it was a course called architecture for all accessibility, inclusion, and usability. And of course, most of the participants had some misunderstanding in architecture, they thought that architecture were all implied or more specific interest in the mechanics of esthetics and architecture.
We also had six, 5 hour long lecture seminars with invited lectures and we developed special assessment protocol with five four type of buildings with six sensory aspects and it was only from one, quite close to the Swedish school system with you were graded from 1 to 5 as a pupil.
And we choose four different building types and of course, the school of architecture which is coined as being the most ugly building in Stockholm and most people are using it as a way of ridiculeizing the architect profession but however, what people don’t know is that the elevated entrance was due to planning because it was supposed to be a metro station underneath and this is the fact that inferences the usability issue in this case.
We also looked at the train station and the campus and the shopping small. However, these inventories visits were executed during autumn so there was no snow at the time. However, when we collected the questionnaires, we could detech it’s very important for experiencing the architecture space, however the others became active. In that sense, the school of architecture caused a high rating of kinetics because you had to go around the building to find the entrance. Whereas the train station and the interior courtyard had other interests with smell and sound.

We also tried to implement an increased spatial thinking by using three pieces of literature. Steinfield and which was not so acclaimed by the pupils and we also used author which on the other hand was more praised because it supplied a theory they could use for one of their assignments and thirdly, we also used fictional novel by a French author which was completely rejected by the students. And additionally they could choose additional literature due to their assignments. However, one student managed to solve the puzzle of the space in the French novel and he managed to produce this. It’s a three dimensional image of the main backdrop to the events that are taking place. Some preliminary conclusions, although there was a big part from the students about this type of education, but we could confirm they mostly use the vision to assess the environment and other senses become active due to the use of the special type of architecture. On the other hand, at the end of the course, they seem to be more aware of the importance of creating accessibility and usability and one of the students made a piece on the way finding and she found out that the new Swedish way of promoting public procurements of medical care which has caused an explosion on new primary health centers caused quite difficult problems for people with some type of disability because the maps were not updated and even more, the signage was not logic. It was very difficult to find a way with the medical center. And also in line with the previous keynote speakers, we could also find that although these are quite recently developed and accomplished new residential buildings, there was less in how to think about accessibility and usability in designs the entrance to a new residential building and therefore, it seemed to be as if the architects had not thought three dimensional in this case. There was collisions and conflicts of usefulness. So what could be said about this as an over arching conclusion? Well, accessibility and usability and also inclusions, they seem to be spatial constituents that need to be activated on a personal level by the individual designer and therefore, we have tried to implement the experience from this also by the architecture students.
Also, the papers on these courses are presented on our web page. For example, the study on the entrance could be accessible for other people. That was my presentation. Thank you!
>> Jonas, let’s see if we have any questions.
>> Thank you for your presentation. My name is Oscar and I’m in industrial design. You talked about nursing homes and how it’s like home like and you said similar answers between architects and other professions. Did you also ask old people about it?
>> Well, you have to understand that the test protocol is especially designed observational protocol. And you are supposed to use this protocol with, I think it’s about 32 questions during an individual study visit or 45 to 60 minutes and of course, it’s only the assessor’s impression.
On the other hand, and they are supposed to pass through the unit as an observer but without taking part of the events that are ongoing. So in that case, what the older people think about the environment is not concluded in the protocol per se. On the other hand, the full rating of the protocol gave you some indication whether it’s a good or bad environment for people and further more, it’s mostly developed for environments with people with dementia so in that case, the main dimension is not just old people who have an opinion about their environment.
>> Thank you, any more questions?
>> I have a question. Why do you think that the students, or, I don’t know, architects, I can’t keep them apart. Why did they lack the visualization that we were talking about?
>> Well, first of all, it’s just related to accessibility, usability because it’s very much of a type of fiscal requirement in the Swedish building code and once you assess the choice from the project that was designed for all and initiated, there are no great differences between the drawings or the final exams produced at the school of architecture and other schools that participated because most students, they only use the floor plan and they indicate the circle for there’s enough space for turning around in a wheelchair but they don’t think about the spatial experience when you, for instance, access the building through a ramp on the other side whereas you as a fully abled person are allowed to access the building from the main entrance. That is the cases that could occur in the student’s final exam projects.
>> Well, what I get a little bit confused by is that my impression as architects, you work a lot with 3 D visualizations. Some way to visualize the 3 D space so why do you think this doesn’t transfer to the accessibility?
>> Mainly, I think the main reason for this, perhaps this could be to quote Patricia, it’s not considered to be sexy. It’s one of the detailed requirements in the Sweden building code and you can find it in additional literature and therefore, it’s more of a mandatory thing that you have to respect rather than a thing that you have to explore spatially or as a designer.
Some students do this research and they try to integrate using a spatial experience but 50/50 well, half of it is student projects and you can see the accessibility and usability has been integrated in a very late stage.


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