User Refinements in Architectural Space


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The presentation talks about the gap between the architect and the end-user as well as between the architect and his creation; to find out a better concept in which the user is given a higher power in designing than being a mere client.

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User Refinements in Architectural Space

  1. 1. Prologue • What is User refinement? • Case studies through sample survey • Present relationship between architect and user • Result of the sample survey • User and his needs • Factors triggering the refinements • Contribution of architects and users • Conclusion • Current nature of architecture • Bridging the gap • Evidence-based Design: A new approach • Concept of Slow Architecture • Post Occupancy Evaluation • Concept of Space-Use analysis
  2. 2. What is USER REFINEMENT? Time Architect User Change in Needs Refinement 5 10 15 20 An example showing the change in needs and refinements which happen as a consequence
  3. 3. Present relationship between architect and user Architect is involved with new clients every now and then. A new relationship is made with each new client. The relationship is ephemeral, since it lasts only as long as the project finishes. Thus the architect fails to put forward a design solution which fulfills the varying needs of the users.
  4. 4. User and his needs ‘User’ – The one who employs a particular function to the design. • Individuality • Roles • Reaction Direct User Example: Residence, interiors Architect User Indirect User Example: Commercial projects Architect Client User
  5. 5. Every User has his specific needs.The needs change over a period of time.The changes might be slow but calls for a refinement in the space. The refinement adds to the delight. Gives an additional value to the architecture. User-tailored environment sharing the individuality of that particular user.
  6. 6. Contribution of architects and users Individual contribution to space formation. Ethical contribution to the design is restricted because of the ephemeral relation. Project-oriented methodology instead of process-oriented one. User is unaware of architect’s solutions. Can’t challenge the design. Users and their space specifications are often left out from the design evolution. Prime focus shifts to aesthetics and form. Getting the buildings built is considered to be a success.
  7. 7. Current nature of architecture Project becomes the core since the industry follows project-oriented methodology. Idea of celerity plays an important role. New projects – New clients/ teams. Ethical breach between the architect and the client. Architect not able to give a satisfactory design solution which serves the specific needs. Architect is not able to keep track of the varying user needs.
  8. 8. Bridging the gap Architect has to follow a process-based approach. Generates knowledge about the relation between the user and his special configuration as well as his social behaviours. Knowledge influences the future design aspects and overall outcomes. Being an imperfect art, refinement is to be given a significant importance. Neither does the design process nor the obligation of architects to his users ever ends.
  9. 9. Evidence-based design – A new approach Bartlett School of Graduate Studies at University College London (UCL) and Spacelab Architects have collaborated on a project on ‘Effective Workplaces’. Integration of research methods like Space Syntax, Social Network Analysis, questionnaires, ethnographic space observation, case studies on life projects etc. into the design Evidence process. New relationships between the architect, user and also the Based design process is created. Design The formation of relationships between architectural research, design practice and the user. Source: Changing the Architecture Profession – Evidence-Based Design, the New Role of the User and a Process-Based Approach; Authors: Kerstin Sailer, Andrew Budgen, Nathan Lonsdale and Alan Penn (2007)
  10. 10. Concept of slow architecture Design is born slowly after an intimate exploration of the site and patiently understanding the users. Construction is brought down to the pace of human skill. Wabi Sabi- appreciating things incomplete, imperfect and impermanent. wabi sabi Passage of time, which would allow repetition, refinement and experiences, adds a unique sense of delight to it. Gives the users opportunity and time to respond to their environment, develop a harmonious relationship with the building. The desire for reinvent and refinement at the appropriate pace of change develops an evolution rather than a revolution.
  11. 11. Post occupancy evaluation Systematic method. Users and their aspects related to the building and its use are studied. Gives an extended hand in finding out how far the planning has been successful in a particular setting with respect to its users.
  12. 12. Concept of Space-Use analysisA logical frame work which gathers, represent and use theknowledge about users to calculate the space requirements ofthe users as well as their activities.Equipment• Physical Entity• Accommodates the user-activities over a limited area space User Architect perspective (Direct/Indirect) Activities Action Spatial Utilization user activity Requirments perspective perspective Equipment Spaces
  13. 13. Case studies through sample survey RESIDENTIAL SL No. QUESTIONS USER 1 USER 2 USER 3 USER 4 USER 5 1 CITY: Trivandrum Naperville (Chicago, USA) Austin (Texas, USA) Irinjalakuda (Trichur, Kerala) Trivandrum 2 PLACE/ CONTEXT: Urban Urban Urban Rural Urban 3 AGE OF THE OWNER/ OCCUPANT/ USER (IN YEARS): 58 35 27 64 69 4 OCCUPATION: Govt Job Engineer Engineer Retd Military Service Scientist 5 HOUSE POSSESSION: Own Own Rented Own Own 6 TYPOLOGY OF THE HOUSE Independent; 3 bedrooms Independent; 3 bedrooms Apartment; 2 bedroom Independent; 3 bedrooms Independent; 3 bedrooms 7 HOW MANY USERS DURING THE TIME OF POSSESSION? 5 3 2 2 5 8 AGE OF THE HOUSE/ YEAR OF CONSTRUCTION 10; 2002 17; 1995 10 Approx. 10; 2002 27; 1985 9 YEAR(S) OF OCCUPATION: 10 Years 2 Years 10 Months 5 Years 27 Years 10 NUMBER OF ROOMS: 12 7 6 7 11 11 COMMON SPACE 11a) BALCONY Yes Yes Yes 11b) CORRIDOR Yes Yes Yes Yes 11c) STAIRCASE Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 11d) OTHERS, SPECIFY Verandah, Courtyard, Car Porch Basement 12 NUMBER OF PRESENT USERS: 2 3 2 2 2 ARE ALL THE ROOMS BEING USED THE SAME WAY THEY 13 NO NO YES NO NO WERE DESIGNED FOR? 1. Reduction in number of 1. Third bedroom gets used as a 1. Slight modifications in storage 1. The old persons (mother in law occupants has resulted in bedroom only twice or thrice a space in the kitchen to and Grand ma died, their bed conversion of ground floor bed year. It is used to keep the crib accommodate all gadgets. room is now guest room. room to master bed room and and a spare futon, which doubles 2. A toilet attached to Dining Hall one of the first floor bed rooms to up as the bed. normally the 2. Sitout being enclosed (put grills was converted into a store. guest room. washed clothes that await ironing all around) with a safety door 3. Drawing cum Office room was 2.Common corridor in the first and folding are dumped on the which can be locked. converted to a full drawing room. floor is being used for keeping the crib and futon. 4. A corner of the large Dining hall solar battery and ups. 2. A formal dining and drawing 3. Back terrace covered with was converted into a work IF NOT, WHAT REFINEMENT/IMPROVISATION HAD HAD 3. A/C has been fitted in two room remain empty as we still galvanized sheet, to provide space station. 14 HAPPENED? PLEASE SPECIFY WHY. rooms. arent sure whether we need such for drying clothes 5. A utility room was converted 4. Indian w/c had been converted a space. We are okay with into a library. to European due to old age friends/guests coming to our discomforts. living room, and sharing the informal dining area. In the mean time, our baby uses those two vacant rooms for playing with her tricycle. That probably is a better use for that space. One bed room was added when 15 ANY RENNOVATION/ADDITION DONE TO THE HOUSE: Renovation of the home garden. Deck added. No No the sons got married FUNCTIONAL; MATERIAL; REFINEMENT CATEGORY FUNCTIONAL; TECHNOLOGY FUNCTIONAL FUNCTIONAL AESTHETICS
  14. 14. Case studies through sample survey CORPORATE SL No. QUESTIONS USER 1 USER 2 USER 3 USER 4 USER 5 1 CITY: Lemont (Chicago, USA) Bangalore, India Austin (Texas, USA) New Delhi, India Trivandrum, India 2 PLACE/ CONTEXT: Urban Urban Urban Urban Urban 3 CORPORATE NAME: Argonne Wipro Intel Corporation Incubis Consultants Glaxo Smith Kline 4 THE POSSESSION: Own Own Own Rented Own YEAR IN WHICH THE BUILDING/FLOOR WAS 5 Early 1960s Not Available 2012 2007 2004 CONSTRUCTED/OCCUPIED: DOES THE BUILDING/FLOOR SHOWS THE 6 NO YES YES YES YES CORPORATE IDENTITY? Coffee machine, AC/heater, fan, Cafeteria, Rest Rooms, Medical Cafe, Fitness center, conference Coffee machine, Pantry, Rest toilet, a vending machine in the Facility, Sports Area rooms, Restrooms, Parking lot. rooms, Material room, Common Coffee machine, Canteen, Toilets, 7 WHAT ARE THE COMMON FACILITIES IN OFFICE? basement. printers and xerox machines, Medical Store room, Cold store, A canteen located about a km Power back-up Conference room away within the same campus. 1. Common area has only reduced 1. Increased the area due to 1. There were some security weak 1. Vacant spaces have been 1. Increased the office space by in the past few years. increase in number of employees. spots. They changed the way of converted into storage spaces for adding more cubicles. 2. Coffee machine moved to a entry through some doors to close keeping material samples by 2. A TV and network systems were smaller enclosure with fax/copier those loopholes adding racks. added in the conference room to etc. (to make room for some more 2. Dish stands were added to keep enable long distance conference. cubicles). the common plates and cups. 3. Increased the area for 3. Placed some large TV screens 3. Cameras and motions sensors laboratories. in the lobby to show some videos were fixed to increase security. about the work done in the lab. WHAT MODIFICATIONS HAVE THEY DONE IN THE 8 4. The rooms were made larger COMMON AREA? last year by breaking down some walls, to accomodate a larger team, in the same hall. 5. Solar lamps have been placed near canteen. a solar EV charging station too is installed for employees (hardly ever used by employees). FUNCTIONAL; MATERIAL; REFINEMENT CATEGORY FUNCTIONAL; TECHNOLOGY FUNCTIONAL FUNCTIONAL FUNCTIONAL; TECHNOLOGY TECHNOLOGY
  15. 15. Result of the sample survey Data from Survey Reasons which induce refinements No 4 • Change in no. of occupants • Additional storage space Yes 1 • Security and privacy • Old-age discomforts Graph showing the differences in number of users using every room as it was designed for • Increase in common area against the number of users not using as it was. • Growing no. of employees Source: Data from Survey
  16. 16. Factors triggering the refinements Time Present immediate needs Future needs based on aspirations Functional Ownership Occupants to room ratio Safety & Privacy Accessibility Material and New and Improved Materials Technology New Technology New Equipment Aesthetics Age of the Building (renew/renovation) Order & Complexity Visual Quality
  17. 17. Conclusion • An architect has only less or no role in User refinements, at present. • It the relation extends on a time bound scale, the architect would be having a record of the history of the user right from the design stage to that particular period. • Forecast the user’s immediate requirements from time to time. • Design process of that building never ends. • Refinements done by the User- may degrade the architectural value of that building in terms of usability, material, and aesthetics and so on. • The same refinements done by the Architect- could either maintain or, sometimes, even enhance the architectural quality of that particular building with respect to the user and his needs.