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Planning complex building systems

ROGER ENGLAND
Architectural Research and Teaching
Vol. 2, No. 1 (November 1971), pp. 34-39
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24655004
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Planning complex building systems
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Abstract

This paper explains something of the background to a research project in the planning of hospital buildings. A criticism is made of techniques which employ computer-based procedures to determine building layout. These, it is suggested, take too little account of the increasing need for constant spatial transformation in large institutional buildings to meet the rapidly changing demands of the organizations accommodated. Whilst layout 'optimization' may be a relevant short-term aid to management in decisions pertaining to location, the design of the facilities themselves must concentrate on providing relationships between and properties of spaces which can cater adequately for a changing organization throughout its life. The statistical approach adopted in this paper is based on the hypothesis that as a complex system the spatial properties of hospitals display the probabalistic laws of all systems which maintain an appropriateness to their environments. Implicit in this hypothesis is the view that a large element of design, architectural or any other, is not, as is generally supposed, an entirely contingent activity. Empirical statements can be made about the systems we design although those systems, evolving in different circumstances (environments), might have been quite other than they are.

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