The relativity of common room usability in assisted living
Conference contribution, 2014
Usability is created in negotiation between environment and users, or between human and non-human actors. In contrast to this relational approach, architecture practices focus on normative aspects of the built environment from artistic and technological perspectives. The usability of care environments, here in assisted living, is related to a necessary architectural generality of institutional contexts, which counteracts personalization. Common rooms in assisted living are designed for shared social activities, in which ambiguous meanings emerge to the users and position the rooms in an unclear location in a private-public continuum. The usability of these rooms is generated both by the users’ disparate understanding of the spaces in a social context and the evasiveness of a private-public dichotomy. Normative aspects of the design processes are discernible, in contrast to relational aspects of usability, which are the result of user-artefact interaction over time.