Situating Access and Breaking Boundaries: Holistic Responsivity as a Provocation
School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, University of Calgary, Canada
Contemporary society, including architecture, urbanism, and city planning, stands at a vital juncture. Calls for heightened equity amidst growing diversity offer an unprecedented opportunity to reconsider design thinking. A part of this equation pertains to the ways that users address and operate within the built environment moving past mobility, to include people with intellectual disabilities (ID). Intellectual disabilities have been understood historically with the manifestation of intellectual ableism within the built environment. Current design research and practice under-represent intellectual disabilities, affirming the need for innovating architectural solutions that encourage inclusion and participation. The present paper argues that design equity and spatial engagement needs to be addressed in broader ways to cover crucial cognition encounters and sensorial experiences of these (and all) users. Holistic Responsivity is thus a term coined by the authors to convey the notion that designers shoulder serious responsibility for creating built environments that are responsive across the wide-ranging abilities of users. It is proposed as a provocation of the status quo, an expansion in the catchment in critique of current universal design’s one-size-fits-all approach to accessibility. Informed by neuroarchitecture, agile architecture, and cybernetics [NAAC], Holistic Responsivity provides a conceptual framework that can be applied to design processes. This research is consolidated through case studies, primary data collection via three survey methods, and action-based research. Collected data will, downstream, be qualitatively analyzed through content, narrative, and discourse analysis to understand the experiences of people with cognitive disabilities and perceived barriers in the built environment, and how disability is perceived within architectural practice and education. Through logical argumentation, this methodology unites primary and secondary research towards experiential equity, finally proposing new design guidelines that are more responsive, resilient, and responsible. Ultimately, the goal is to support and enhance the user's agency, the performance of the environment, and the optimization of experience. The design of our everyday spaces and places need to ensure all users are more abled, not less disabled.
Performative Views in Architecture: Preference, Composition, and Occupant’s wellbeing.
University of Oregon, United States of America
A substantial portion of the world population spends a minimum of 40 hours weekly in indoor office environments and almost 90% of their time indoors. A fact that placed a significant importance to outdoor views in work environments as a mean for occupants to maintain connections to nature and the outdoors. Previous studies have attributed a positive correlation between the presence of nature components in outdoor views and occupant’s satisfaction, physiological benefits, mental health, shorter postoperative hospital stays, lower medication dosages, better mood, lower job stress, and reduced churn rates. Despite the favorability of this evidence, the composition of view attributes and components that lead to these positive effects have not been adequately investigated yet. Most previous studies concentrated on the comparisons of views of nature verses urban views preferences, yet failed to acknowledge the complex dimension of view parameters and the percentages of elements of nature within a view, such as percentage of sky area, ground cover, trees and shrubs. Similarly, the type, quality, and composition of urban views have not been adequately investigated. Moreover, most previous studies failed to develop a view metric to both quantify and evaluate different views or a scale to predict their impact separately or collectively on occupant’s wellbeing.
This study attempts to answer an important yet unsearched question related to the performative aspects of views and their composition. It also attempts to quantify view preference by developing a metric for view performance and testing its impacts on occupant’s wellbeing. The study employed a cross-sectional sorting task survey design to assess view quality outside offices. Data was collected from 125 office participants-- who were given 12 images that contain different views compositions--accessible from their offices, which vary from the extreme views of nature to extreme urban views. View compositions varied in content and magnitude, including nature components, architectural styles, dynamic elements, and view depth. Participants were asked to rank the different views using a Q-sorting task procedure. In addition, daylighting levels and quality inside the different offices were measured and analyzed to evaluate the interaction between lighting and views on occupants’ satisfaction and comfort levels.
This is an inquiry that attempts to answer and quantify a long debated hypothesis regarding the importance non-residential building occupants place on the need to be in contact with nature and the outdoors (the biophilia hypothesis) while working within a building. Results suggest that common classifications of views into two types, views of nature verses urban views, is misleading and does not realistically represent the typical content of views. Instead, a scaled dimension and metric to evaluate views based on their composition is more accurate as it offers a predictive power to measure the performative aspects of views. Of equal importance is the power of the metric to predict the impact of views on occupant’s wellbeing. Findings provide an evidence-based guideline to design a better view for occupant’s in work environments from the inside out as well as from the outside in.
Biophilic Net-Positive Architecture: Integrating Nature, Health, Wellbeing and Passive Design
University of Minnesota, United States of America
The energy, carbon, and environmental benefits of net-positive design have received much attention, but less so the health, wellbeing, and experiential promises. Architects Pamela Mang and Bill Reed suggest that the definition of “net-positive” should be expanded to “buildings that ‘add value’ to ecological systems and generate more than they need to fulfil their own needs’ moves net-positive beyond simply a technical challenge . . . [by including] benefits to the systemic capability to generate, sustain and evolve the life of a particular place (Mang and Reed, 2014, 1)”. Could a biophilic approach to net-positive architecture provide an expanded understanding of health and wellbeing for humans, other species and the planet? Architect Stephen Kellert identified biophilic design as the “largely missing link” in sustainable design: “Without positive benefits and associated attachment to buildings and places, people rarely exercise responsibility or stewardship to keep them in existence over the long run….Low-environmental-impact and biophilic design must, therefore, work in complementary relation to achieve true and lasting sustainability (Kellert et al., 2008, 5)”. This paper discusses a seven-week graduate architecture studio that explored the potential “added value” of a biophilic approach to net-positive architecture, using the Architecture 2030 Energy Design Hierarchy and Terrapin’s 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design to address the design, programmatic, performance, and experiential dimensions of biophilic net-positive architecture (Architecture 2030, 2020; Terrapin 2014). Integrated biophilic net-positive architectural goals, strategies, performance metrics, and tools will be discussed to support human and ecological health and wellbeing.
Kellert, Stephan R., Heerwagan, Judith H., and Mador, Martin L. 2008. Biophilic Design, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Terrapin Bright Green. 2014. Terrapin’s 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design, https://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/report/14-patterns/, 4.