Architects Designing for Care: Knowledge Brokers in Times of Change
The analysis explores how architects seek to bring the various interests of a stakeholder set into alignment in the process of embedding health care knowledge into the design and build of care settings. This alignment is ever shifting through a project's life. Stakeholders consist of: the client (e.g care home operators, local authorities), ‘end-users’ (e.g elderly people, care staff, other care home workers), contractors/builders, and local planning authorities. In particular, we explore how architects mediate the desired – but always fluctuating -stakeholder alignment necessary to deliver a quality building. Stakeholders are envisaged by architects in the course of a project as embodied and virtual; as more or less present; and as more or less easy to predict in their capacity to exert influence. Amongst other things architects’ seek to broker stakeholder knowledge by investing emotions and needs in the (often virtual) group of resident end-users; by using their expert knowledge to unite differently distributed and situated knowledges and expectations of workers (e.g care staff, cleaners, cooks); and by ‘educating’ clients (e.g. care home operators) in what is possible and desirable. We also consider how this process in turn is influenced by factors such as cost concerns and planning regulations which often are highly dynamic during the course of a project.