Architecture elders and children should feel safe in their

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 while
still responding to needs of people and society. One of the necessities of
today’s society is designing built environments specifically to serve
intergenerational (child and elder) programs. Built environments can be
structured to encourage or discourage social interaction. The built environment
has effects on children cognitive, social, and emotional development as well as
effects on elder’s health and well-being. Both elders and children should feel
safe in their environment in order to interact with one another and explore new
relationships. Knowing the influence of the built environment on the elderly and
children, the design of intergenerational spaces has the potential to influence
the interaction between elders and children engaged in intergenerational
programming. This thesis explores how architecture intermediates between different
uses, and explore how, through architecture, uses can be separated or united.  Thus, the project is an Intergenerational
Center, a community center for both orphan and elder focusing on their
individual characteristics and needs.

Definition:

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Intergenerational: involving
persons of different generation (in this case elder and orphan)

Intergenerational center:
It is the built environment where multiple generations receive ongoing services
or programming at the same site, and generally interact through planned or
informal intergenerational activities. It’s a concept where two of our most
vulnerable age groups can be successfully integrated.

 

 

 

 

2. PROBLEM STATEMENT

 

The world is made up of
old souls and the young at heart. The aging population often lives completely
separated from the younger population, leaving them without the benefits of
social contact between these two different groups. Each institution segregates
its age group from the rest, resulting in a limited and homogeneous group of
peers and coworkers (Hagestad & Uhlenberg, 2005). This causes a lack of key
social relationships between the age groups. The old are apart from the larger
society, 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 and
values used to ensure care for their older members. But now, the nuclear family
is 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 is
abandonment from their children due to their inability to take care of them. It
could be because they work in abroad for their permanent living or their
failure to remember their responsibility towards their own parents. For these
elder 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 even
though old age homes could have fulfilled their basic requirements, they lack a
sense 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. These
children have been orphaned through death of parents, abandonment and neglect
of family members. The majority of parents can no longer provide for basic
needs such as food, clothing and an environment suitable for their children. And
these children needs to be taught about their tradition values and wisdom in a
good environment. But many children are seen in streets begging with a piece of
paper 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 who
once was in orphanage but because of lack of responsibility and services, they
are working as a conductor in microbuses. They are taught that money is
everything through everyday struggle.

Those small minds are
hungry for earning money rather than knowledge that could prosper their future.
They lack of feeling being loved. So they are mainly victim of abuses and
exploitation.  

“Every child on earth deserves
to have a family and every old parents deserve to be their grand-children. If a
child grow up without love and care of a family, then all the helps offered to
him is incomplete” – Herman Gmeiner  

 

3. JUSTIFICATION

 

The orphanages and the
old age home in context of Nepal, they are only concerned with providing food
and health facilities. They fail in understanding the inner emptiness, a lack
of 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 stress
less activities. Also, the organizations are unable to provide a proper
environment for the inhabitants. As it can be seen many children running away
from the orphanages to earn money. So in order to fill this gap in both users
and in order to be benefitted from each other, these two generations can be
brought together.

By mixing children and
seniors there is an appreciation of cultural heritage, traditions, and values.
These two generations complement each other, one generation meets the needs of
the other. Seniors have a sense of mentoring; they act as teacher to children,
and sometimes the interaction helps to bring out their inner child. Children
used them as learning tools, and look up to them. There is a difference between
these two generations; they are not supposed to be treated alike. Seniors
receive care while giving it. “As people age, according to psychologist Erik
Erikson’s theories of lifelong development, they need to pass the torch, to
share lifetimes of wisdom, to feel they’re leaving a legacy behind.

Children benefit because
they develop good manners and respect for older generations. For both
generations the interaction helps them by improving their cognitive skills,
self-esteem, self-efficacy, and emotional well-being. According to the
Intergenerational 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, and
depression. At the same time children have an improvement in reading skills,
interpersonal relations, behavior and development of good manners, while
decreasing ADHD and hyperactivity.

 

 

4. OBJECTIVE AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS

 

This thesis aims to
develop a program and design a facility for an Intergenerational Center that
will offer a curriculum for the interaction of both generations, in a facility
that will accommodate each of their needs, enhancing their lives. Through
architecture both generations will be separated and united when necessary. The
idea behind this topic is to create:

·      
An interactive platform for old age homes and
orphanages :

Even if we combine an old
age home with an orphanage we need to have a planned space or platform where
they both can interact. We can’t always put both the generations together as
they have different priorities.

·      
Careful planning of spaces:

It might happen that some
of the elder people may have some contagious diseases. Hence they have to be
isolated from the children. Therefore careful planning is required so that
spaces are segregated but are not isolated.

·      
Low cost scheme:

Mostly such buildings are
funded by NGOs and hence need to be as cost effective as possible. So
techniques of low cost housing will be applied essentially.

An initial approach to
this topic is questioning:

·      
How can architecture respond to different uses?

·      
How can spaces designed for a group interact with
other spaces designed for other groups, creating new ones?

·      
How can tensions and boundaries that appear between
two users and uses be resolved architecturally?

·      
What points of connection can appear between two
contrasting uses?

·      
How can a space be designed in order to accommodate
any use?