INTER-GENERATIONAL LIVING: OPEN BUILDING ARCHITECTURE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF CHOICE & INDEPENDENCE
The ideas of choice and personalized living; that people carry an inherent emotional connection with their physical environment, has forever been at the forefront of American homeowner ideology (Marcus 2006). “Open building architecture”, an approach to design that increases the variety, flexibility and quality of space, ensures the idea of choice and personalization in living for the inhabitant (Nascimento 2013). The notion of applying a singular scheme to the living needs of the greater whole can no longer be an acceptable means of designing. In the sector of healthcare (hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) this similar quality of homogenized living conditions, void of any personal identity, has come to be all too familiar (Swensson 2012). Through the implementation of open building architecture, one can break free of the cookie cutter approach to design and begin to disentangle the specific parts of a building, thus enabling broader consumer choice in laying out, equipping, and furnishing space (Kendell 2002). In regards to inter-generational living, the aspect of adapting to changing needs over time is critical in order to adequately serve the needs of our aging population, and by means of open building architecture, one can begin to focus design on the user/inhabitant. The users, then, become recognized as the decision making agent, and in turn the architecture becomes more suitable to the individual’s needs (Nascimento 2013). Thus, the purpose of this project is to investigate the potential benefits of open building architecture in the design of inter-generational living, with the goal being to sustain choice, personalization, and independence for its inhabitants.