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Child Responsive Architecture: A Learning Tool
An investigation into children's perception of space
University of Dundee
School of Architecture
Jenny Millar
Research Background
“Have you everlost a child in a public place? – Remember the panic? You are not alone! – Often
we blame the child for misbehaving, or the carer for not paying enough attention, but rarely do we
blame the buildingor the architect for an organisation of space that is calling to children in a way
that adults will never fully understand.”
This research derives from the researcher’s personal interest in therelationship between
architecture and people, arising from, primarily, simple observations of different groups of people
within buildings, during her undergraduate study. People do not always behave asexpected; in
particular, children and this interest underpinned her study of architecture. The researcher
recognised that observers of children within buildings would often relate their differencesin
behaviour, to those expected of them, to different levels of maturity or energy rather than their
innate perceptual ability. The PhD research explores that perceptual ability as a comprehensionof architecture, that is, contained space, to consider “what it is actually saying to our kids.”
Research Aims & Objectives
The investigation is concerned with the spatial perceptions of youngchildren, ranging in age from
5 to 9 years. Outline research shows that children’s perception of space is, in certain ways,
different to the spatial perception of adults. By determining why thesedifferences are there and
how, throughout development, they change, it should be possible to inform design to be more
responsive to children.
The study is two-fold in its intent: it makes investigationsthat bear relevance to the fundamental
principles of architectural design, by relating the perceptions of the contained space to the intent
of the designer of the space. Within this, it reasons why...
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