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Main entrance

Rehabilitation gym Rehabilitation area Outpatients Waiting area Administration Auditorium Supporting room Genetic laboratory Swimming pool Multisport area Aisles Gardens Adult rehabilitation centre

The analysis spatial configuration As the gymnasium is the heart of rehabilitation, the study focused on its therapeutic attributes. The gymnasium is considered as a spatial area for configuration analysis focusing on patterns of visibility and movement. The administrative guidelines and beliefs of physical and occupational therapists who work in the gymnasium were also considered. The therapists’ perceptions drew on what they considered the ideal level of interaction (co-presence) among people at the gymnasium to stimulate or hinder rehabilitation. Co-presence means to be seen or noticed by anyone in a given space, which results in some degree of interpersonal interaction.

here is the Space Syntax (SS), based on Social Logic of Space.5

The methodology procedure adopted The fundamental premise of

Figure 1: The ground floor of the Children’s Rehabilitation Centre. Linked pavilion typology with its sectors highlighted.

establishments. Such attributes are supposed to facilitate healthy relationships and a sense of peace and tranquility. Under this new paradigm, promoting health means promoting healthy relationships. Architectural space can encourage such relationships. A healthcare building shall be a comfortable physical structure that contributes to the recovery process. A building cannot be understood as an isolated object, the interrelationships between the built environment and its users should be considered. The physical space has the potential to foster desirable interactions between staff, caregivers and patients, thus affecting the treatment. In this case study, conducted at the

Center for Children’s Rehabilitation in Natal, North East Brazil, it was possible to analyse the center spatial configurations, contrasting interactions in common spaces with privacy. Interaction in common areas is considered essential for the rehabilitation process, although it has also been identified as a source of environmental discomfort (e.g. noise).

The objective of this study was to analyse

the relationship between the spatial properties of the gymnasium rehabilitation done in common spaces with the patients’ rehabilitation. It also investigated the types of use given to the space and their relationship

‘The methodology procedure adopted here is the Space Syntax (SS), based on Social Logic of Space.’


with the staff perception about such spaces and with the administration norms. For this purpose, the principles established by the NHP were taken into account.


The Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) – a reference center in Rio Grande do Norte, North East Brazil, is a state-funded institution that offers a monthly average of 4,000 free treatments to children and adolescents with physical, sensory, mental or multiple problems. A team of 192 professionals specialised in various areas work in its 5,480 m2

. The CRC is divided into

administration, ambulatory, laboratory, rehabilitation, and supporting structures, such as pharmacy, vaccination room, and outpatient clinics (Fig. 1). The building design follows a pavilions

structure in which sectors are connected through large aisles with gardens enabling a quick understanding of the space and its users. This structure facilitates the different functions demanded by such a complex establishment. However, its outdoor area is often under utilised, due to lack of equipment or other attractors. Over more than two decades this space

has undergone modifications to adapt to the demands and local dynamics determined by the use of new medical technologies as well as therapeutic, social or administrative issues related to public management. The last modification, to the gymnasium rehabilitation centre, was finished in 2012. The gymnasium is central to the

rehabilitation process, as this is where physical and occupational therapies take place. In its 497 m2

, 15 professionals work with an average of 575 patients every month.

the Social Logic of Space is that the spatial form is the independent variable, acting and relating to the way people use space. SS interprets the space as if it is divided into a system of barriers that facilitate or restrict patterns, encounters or avoidances.5 Structure is formed by interrelated parts in which a change in one part affects the whole system. Although it is not possible to summarise here the theoretical framework of the Social Logic of Space, the main foundations of SS are presented, mainly concerning space configuration, and how local space and global properties can be described and interpreted. Hanson states that the introduction of at

least one space affecting the relationship between two others is what defines a relationship matrix of a spatial structure.6 In SS, space is represented and quantified from specific procedures that allow the evaluation of space potentialities based on its own configuration. In this study, CRC spatial configuration through convex and visibility maps is analysed. The convex maps are simplifications of

reality that represent the way people tend to cluster in a given space. ‘A convex space is in essence a space in which, from one point to any other, it is possible to have visual control of all other points, or in drawing a line on it, only two points intersect. The visibility maps consider the visual field from a given point to any other in the system. For each representation there is an algorithm base supporting the proposed relational system, which on its turn generates a quantified colour matrix calculated here on Depthmap® software.7 Figure 2 is a schematic representation of

new and different relationships between spaces a, b and c, from the insertion of new spaces. In situation 1 no space affects others. It is possible to go from a to b without going through c. In all other situations, at least one space controls the access to other spaces. The more space controllers, the greater the depth of the system (situation 5), which consequently focuses on accessibility levels


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