Silesian University of Technology (POLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 3495-3501
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.0872
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
The purpose of this article is to discuss the use of action research method in architectural education. The article presents the case studies where space of geriatric wards was the subject to consider by the students in the context of the most important and possible modifications in order to maintain the possible maximal and functional self-reliance of elderly patients.

3rd year students of the first level of architecture studies get involved in this process on the subject of Design Strategies. Its main issue was the basic principles of architectural design in consideration of users’ needs, look for formal and spatial connections between rooms and their arrangement in the building, and prepare evaluation of the quality of architectural objects. One of the didactic aims in terms of this special task was to develop the student’s knowledge and skills in the field of social competences of architect’s proffesion and it’s influence on modyfining the environment in context of the user’s needs, especially in context of ageing society. Action research method was used to foster these skills.

On the early stage of work the following methodical assumptions were made:
• Students are active participants of the process on every stage of ongoing work,
• Education trough the experience – understanding the specific of existing circumstances and user’s needs (using the assesment tools: the observation of the manner of use of the hospital departments, tracking patient's route, unstructured interviews with medical staff and selected patients realized by students)
• Revision of the initial assumptions during the data analysis process and the revision of the results during the focus meetings with medical staff.

The proces had five sequential steps: problem formulation, data collection, data analysis, reporting of results, and action planning. The results and the strategy of planned modifications were presented to a medical staff as the graphic presentation and discussed at the end of the course.

Effect of finished courses are concept studies for two geriatric wards. The new quality of these spatial solutions was achieved due to the implementation of the specific needs of elderly patients (e.g. safety, sense of control, visual senitivity) and due to the understanding of healing process on the geariatric ward. Students have learned that the health care design for the elder patients should be carefully designed including physical, emotional and social aspects to improve quality of life in elderly health care facilities.

The skill of using action research method gives appropriate tool for local solutions trying to solve the specific problems, especially in future professional practise. Moreover, this approach may help also to find the innovative solutions.
Action research, design for elderly, architectural education.