Main benefits of ergonomic validation in architecture
A design methodology for human-centred building design
Ergonomic approach is aimed to optimise human interactions with systems, in order to make human activities more efficient, safe, comfortable and satisfying. Built environments influence people’s everyday life because all human activities are executed in a built space. In this framework, architectural design can be enhanced by the consideration of human factors perspective, because it gives the cultural and practical references to envisage how technical solutions can fit the environmental needs derived from people’s life and work activities they perform.
Nonetheless, the application of proposed methodology would represent a rather disrupting practice in the common flow of the architectural design process. First change would concern the deployment of efforts, in terms of time and expertise, within the design process. In fact, earlier stages of a human-centred design process would require more resources than usual, due to the broadening of data set needed to frame the overall design plan correctly.
The enrichment of competences foreseen for the design team, users’ involvement and iteratvity of the design workflow increase the complexity of the architectural design process and, consequently, require adequate professional skills to manage it. On the other hand, the effectiveness of the design outcomes has a great significance in buildings where human performances are crucial, such as the case of safety critical contexts (e.g. control centres and hospitals) or the case of buildings with social relevance (e.g. schools, health care environments and public spaces in general). In these cases, benefits resulting from the human-centred approach to architectural design would largely offset the efforts required for the implementation of the proposed methodology.
After all, built environment represents the actual context of use for products, services and systems, whose use quality level is strongly affected just by physical features of the places they are used in. Thus, building design, according to an user-centred methodology, represents a challenge for creating more suitable life and work contexts of use for all.
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