CumInCAD is a Cumulative Index about publications in Computer Aided Architectural Design
supported by the sibling associations ACADIA, CAADRIA, eCAADe, SIGraDi, ASCAAD and CAAD futures

id cf2011_p027
authors Herssens, Jasmien; Heylighen Ann
year 2011
title A Framework of Haptic Design Parameters for Architects: Sensory Paradox Between Content and Representation
source Computer Aided Architectural Design Futures 2011 [Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Computer Aided Architectural Design Futures / ISBN 9782874561429] Liege (Belgium) 4-8 July 2011, pp. 685-700.
summary Architectsé─ţlike other designersé─ţtend to think, know and work in a visual way. In design research, this way of knowing and working is highly valued as paramount to design expertise (Cross 1982, 2006). In case of architecture, however, it is not only a particular strength, but may as well be regarded as a serious weakness. The absence of non-visual features in traditional architectural spatial representations indicates how these are disregarded as important elements in conceiving space (Dischinger 2006). This bias towards vision, and the suppression of other sensesé─ţin the way architecture is conceived, taught and critiquedé─ţresults in a disappearance of sensory qualities (Pallasmaa 2005). Nevertheless, if architects design with more attention to non visual senses, they are able to contribute to more inclusive environments. Indeed if an environment offers a range of sensory triggers, people with different sensory capacities are able to navigate and enjoy it. Rather than implementing as many sensory triggers as possible, the intention is to make buildings and spaces accessible and enjoyable for more people, in line with the objective of inclusive design (Clarkson et al. 2007), also called Design for All or Universal Design (Ostroff 2001). Within this overall objective, the aim of our study is to develop haptic design parameters that support architects during design in paying more attention to the role of haptics, i.e. the sense of touch, in the built environment by informing them about the haptic implications of their design decisions. In the context of our study, haptic design parameters are defined as variables that can be decided upon by designers throughout the design process, and the value of which determines the haptic characteristics of the resulting design. These characteristics are based on the expertise of people who are congenitally blind, as they are more attentive to non visual information, and of professional caregivers working with them. The parameters do not intend to be prescriptive, nor to impose a particular method. Instead they seek to facilitate a more inclusive design attitude by informing designers and helping them to think differently. As the insights from the empirical studies with people born blind and caregivers have been reported elsewhere (Authors 2010), this paper starts by outlining the haptic design parameters resulting from them. Following the classification of haptics into active, dynamic and passive touch, the built environment unfolds into surfaces that can act as é─˙movementé─¨, é─˙guidingé─¨ and/or é─˙resté─¨ plane. Furthermore design techniques are suggested to check the haptic qualities during the design process. Subsequently, the paper reports on a focus group interview/workshop with professional architects to assess the usability of the haptic design parameters for design practice. The architects were then asked to try out the parameters in the context of a concrete design project. The reactions suggest that the participating architects immediately picked up the underlying idea of the parameters, and recognized their relevance in relation to the design project at stake, but that their representation confronts us with a sensory paradox: although the parameters question the impact of the visual in architectural design, they are meant to be used by designers, who are used to think, know and work in a visual way.
keywords blindness, design parameters, haptics, inclusive design, vision
series CAAD Futures
email jherssens@gmail.com
full text file.pdf (16,541,465 bytes)
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