Architecture has evolved over time,becoming more than a response to a basic need for shelter and protection.Today, architecture is a representation of social and cultural identity whilestill responding to needs of people and society.
One of the necessities oftoday’s society is designing built environments specifically to serveintergenerational (child and elder) programs. Built environments can bestructured to encourage or discourage social interaction. The built environmenthas effects on children cognitive, social, and emotional development as well aseffects on elder’s health and well-being. Both elders and children should feelsafe in their environment in order to interact with one another and explore newrelationships. Knowing the influence of the built environment on the elderly andchildren, the design of intergenerational spaces has the potential to influencethe interaction between elders and children engaged in intergenerationalprogramming. This thesis explores how architecture intermediates between differentuses, and explore how, through architecture, uses can be separated or united. Thus, the project is an IntergenerationalCenter, a community center for both orphan and elder focusing on theirindividual characteristics and needs.
Definition:Intergenerational: involvingpersons of different generation (in this case elder and orphan)Intergenerational center:It is the built environment where multiple generations receive ongoing servicesor programming at the same site, and generally interact through planned orinformal intergenerational activities. It’s a concept where two of our mostvulnerable age groups can be successfully integrated. 2. PROBLEM STATEMENT The world is made up ofold souls and the young at heart. The aging population often lives completelyseparated from the younger population, leaving them without the benefits ofsocial contact between these two different groups. Each institution segregatesits age group from the rest, resulting in a limited and homogeneous group ofpeers and coworkers (Hagestad & Uhlenberg, 2005). This causes a lack of keysocial relationships between the age groups. The old are apart from the largersociety, which may lead to a loss of emotional care by preventing nurturing,communication, and passing down knowledge to the younger generation (McCrea& Smith, 1997).
In context of Nepal, family traditions andvalues used to ensure care for their older members. But now, the nuclear familyis replacing the traditional multi-generational family in urban areas,isolating the older members. So they are generally sent to old age home. Another issue of elderly people these days isabandonment from their children due to their inability to take care of them.
Itcould be because they work in abroad for their permanent living or theirfailure to remember their responsibility towards their own parents. For theseelder people, happiness is not having 3 meal per day or having roof above them.They would be happy only if these things are shared with their family. So eventhough old age homes could have fulfilled their basic requirements, they lack asense of family and being with their children. Due to these condition,elderly people are facing psychological and mental problem such as depression,trauma, and stress. Another vulnerable age group are the children. Thesechildren have been orphaned through death of parents, abandonment and neglectof family members. The majority of parents can no longer provide for basicneeds such as food, clothing and an environment suitable for their children.
Andthese children needs to be taught about their tradition values and wisdom in agood environment. But many children are seen in streets begging with a piece ofpaper in their hands with printed letters; which they don’t even understand.They are just thinking about how to survive today.
There are also children whoonce was in orphanage but because of lack of responsibility and services, theyare working as a conductor in microbuses. They are taught that money iseverything through everyday struggle. Those small minds arehungry for earning money rather than knowledge that could prosper their future.They lack of feeling being loved. So they are mainly victim of abuses andexploitation. “Every child on earth deservesto have a family and every old parents deserve to be their grand-children.
If achild grow up without love and care of a family, then all the helps offered tohim is incomplete” – Herman Gmeiner 3. JUSTIFICATION The orphanages and theold age home in context of Nepal, they are only concerned with providing foodand health facilities. They fail in understanding the inner emptiness, a lackof being loved in the user’s heart. Above all the senior citizen should feel like’seniors’ not ‘old and obsolete’ by making them active in any kind of stressless activities.
Also, the organizations are unable to provide a properenvironment for the inhabitants. As it can be seen many children running awayfrom the orphanages to earn money. So in order to fill this gap in both usersand in order to be benefitted from each other, these two generations can bebrought together.
By mixing children andseniors there is an appreciation of cultural heritage, traditions, and values.These two generations complement each other, one generation meets the needs ofthe other. Seniors have a sense of mentoring; they act as teacher to children,and sometimes the interaction helps to bring out their inner child. Childrenused them as learning tools, and look up to them. There is a difference betweenthese two generations; they are not supposed to be treated alike.
Seniorsreceive care while giving it. “As people age, according to psychologist ErikErikson’s theories of lifelong development, they need to pass the torch, toshare lifetimes of wisdom, to feel they’re leaving a legacy behind.Children benefit becausethey develop good manners and respect for older generations.
For bothgenerations the interaction helps them by improving their cognitive skills,self-esteem, self-efficacy, and emotional well-being. According to theIntergenerational Mentoring Program Brain Gym at Kupuna & Keiki Together,seniors have an improvement in memory, focus, coordination, and balance,physical and mental skills, while decreasing loneliness, boredom, anddepression. At the same time children have an improvement in reading skills,interpersonal relations, behavior and development of good manners, whiledecreasing ADHD and hyperactivity. 4. OBJECTIVE AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS This thesis aims todevelop a program and design a facility for an Intergenerational Center thatwill offer a curriculum for the interaction of both generations, in a facilitythat will accommodate each of their needs, enhancing their lives.
Througharchitecture both generations will be separated and united when necessary. Theidea behind this topic is to create:· An interactive platform for old age homes andorphanages :Even if we combine an oldage home with an orphanage we need to have a planned space or platform wherethey both can interact. We can’t always put both the generations together asthey have different priorities.· Careful planning of spaces:It might happen that someof the elder people may have some contagious diseases.
Hence they have to beisolated from the children. Therefore careful planning is required so thatspaces are segregated but are not isolated.· Low cost scheme:Mostly such buildings arefunded by NGOs and hence need to be as cost effective as possible. Sotechniques of low cost housing will be applied essentially.An initial approach tothis topic is questioning:· How can architecture respond to different uses?· How can spaces designed for a group interact withother spaces designed for other groups, creating new ones?· How can tensions and boundaries that appear betweentwo users and uses be resolved architecturally? · What points of connection can appear between twocontrasting uses?· How can a space be designed in order to accommodateany use?