Architects Designing for Care: Knowledge Brokers in Times of Change

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Hörsaal 4C G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Ellen ANNANDALE, University of York, United Kingdom
Sian BEYNON-JONES, University of York, United Kingdom
Christina BUSE, University of York, United Kingdom
Daryl MARTIN, University of York, United Kingdom
Sarah NETTLETON, University of York, United Kingdom
Architects who design for health and social care are a relatively unexplored professional group. Yet they are an exemplary example of a group working to maintain professional values and ideologies within complex context-dependent conditions. We explore this process through the lens of architects as ‘knowledge brokers’, drawing on data from in-depth interviews with architects working in the UK social care sector (mainly elderly care homes), conducted as part of ongoing ESRC-funded research ‘Buildings in the making: a sociological exploration of architecture in the context of health and social care’.

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.