Spatial Design that Emancipates

By Donna Wheatley.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Different designed environments can encourage or hinder particular responses and behaviours. This paper presents the results from a study for those workplace environments in which employees felt emancipated through interactions with their environment. Extensive hour long interviews were held at several new workplaces in different parts of the world from major corporate headquarters to smaller design offices. Staff at two of these workplaces indicated a strong sense of feeling emancipated from interacting with their environment. The notion of emancipation through design has not been significantly documented or given priority as a design outcome, despite benefits to both staff and employers. The benefits of achieving staff emancipation can include greater levels of employee satisfaction, increased company loyalty, higher levels of engagement in work, and curiously, longer working hours. The features of the environment that are linked most strongly to a sense of emancipation are comfortable and interesting circulation routes, absence of barriers around workstations, mobile technology and variety of spaces.

Keywords: User Centred Design Research, Architectural Design Evaluation, Case Studies, Emancipation through Spatial Design, Workplace Design

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.321-328. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 655.182KB).

Donna Wheatley

PhD Candidate, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Donna has worked as a consultant, researcher and architect in international architecture firms and tutors architectural design, history and theory. Her PhD research has received a number of awards and prizes. In addition to gaining two first class degrees in architecture, Donna has also completed a Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Enterprise. Donna is interested in bringing innovative and strategic thinking to the field of architectural design.


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