Populating Architectural Design: Introducing Scenario-Based Design in Residential Care Projects
Valerie Van der Linden, Hua Dong, Ann Heylighen


Despite the very aim of designing living environments for people, the perspectives of the end users are underrepresented in architectural design processes. Architects are expected to address the challenges of a diverse and ageing society but, due to increasingly complex design processes, they often have limited access to the perspectives of those they are designing for. This study aims to bring people’s spatial experience to the foreground in architects’ design processes, by turning to techniques developed by related design disciplines. More precisely, it analyses the potential of scenario-based design, a family of techniques for exploring user experience in design, which architects are largely unfamiliar with. Based on elements like personas, scenarios, and user journeys, a scenario-based design approach tailored to architectural design’s particularities was developed. Test workshops were conducted in two architecture firms involved in designing residential care projects, and findings were discussed with an expert panel. Findings illustrate how these workshops offered architects insight into user profiles and themes, facilitated exploring and diversifying potential futures during design development, and supported communication with team members and the client. Additional opportunities and challenges are identified, which can advance the development of an integrated approach to support architects in designing human-centred environments.

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