Architecture : a machine for healing. A study into the use of architecture as an active tool in the rehabilitation of the human gait cycle
Waterhouse, Kane Andrew Baker
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Citation:Waterhouse, K. A. B. (2018). Architecture : a machine for healing. A study into the use of architecture as an active tool in the rehabilitation of the human gait cycle. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4569
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4569
RESEARCH QUESTION: How a proportion based design process applied at different scales could offer an architectural solution to aid in both the pedagogical and practising systems of a gait rehabilitation center, as well as act as a challenging, constructive and active architectural tool for those with gait cycle afflictions. ABSTRACT: With sporting and occupational injuries on the rise as per recent ACC statistics, the question arises: is our architecture working with us in best preventing and recovering from physical injury? Alternatively, is it acting as an unresponsive shell for the programmes that do? Just as developments are made through the equipment to better human health and therapy, why can't the architecture that houses them do the same? There is a wealth of knowledge that surrounds the health sector on prescribed methods and procedures of therapy involved in recovery from injury, as well as the modern benefits that come from the recruitment of specifically designed equipment. These processes and equipment act with the user as the focus often in a singular sense. This focus on the human scale to architecture as an ergonomic tool holds similarity with the beliefs of the Greco-Roman era and the reformulation during the Renaissance period. Writers and architects have always explored various ways in which the proportions of the human body could be applied to architecture. The fundamentals of Greco-Roman architecture are drawn initially from divine proportion systems, and then applied to fit the required programme. Architects such as Palladio and Vitruvius demonstrate examples of these systems being applied. Palladio took the proportions and consistently implemented them as design principles in a Platonist approach for perfection and beauty. The attention to detail and high technical accuracy regarding his proportion systems held similarity to the Platonist view in that the more closely the prototype, in this case, the building could resemble the universal which are the proportional relationships, the better it is. A sense of beauty is seen in divine proportions with the architecture acting as a conduit between the proportions and the user. Despite research in the field of physical rehabilitation and the use of ergonomic systems sympathetically in architecture, the research with a focus toward architecture for physical rehabilitation particularly that of the human gait cycle has remained shallow. This research project is an exploration and reimagining of the urban landscape in which we practice and preach therapeutic processes. The architectural solution will embody primordial proportions made contemporary by modern metrics of the human scale. These two systems will then work in tandem with the therapeutic exercises for gait rehabilitation. "Une maison est une machine-à-habiter"1 famously written phrase by Le Corbusier in his book Toward a New Architecture translated to “a house is a machine for living”. Simply put, it is the stripping back of the unnecessary and focusing on the function of the building. This architectural intervention will be a machine for healing contextualized as a therapy center. The center although oriented toward the rehabilitation of the human gait cycle is envisioned to act as prehabilitation and an interactive wellbeing facility. Several research avenues served as tools in themselves to aid in forming this architectural intervention. The critical tools used are the Euclidean section widely referred to as the golden section, contemporary metrics of human proportion and therapeutic practices of gait rehabilitation/ movement. It is through the overlapping of these threads that this exploration has endeavored to define an interactive, challenging yet, constructive environment for all to benefit from and improve upon oneself. Circulation, structure and spatial division have been crucial architectural tools in showcasing the possibilities and benefits of such a system. Somewhat more importantly the architecture has transformed from the holder of programmes to a programme in and of itself.