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cultural matrices (not investigated here) affecting the therapists, which favour more or less contact and closeness among people in everyday situations. For example, the questionnaires showed that therapists tend to favour private attendance due to the level of noise in public spaces, even though they recognise the benefits of interactions among patients and professionals to build knowledge and experience. The results obtained with the convex

Figure 2: In a system consisting of two spaces, the insertion of a third point affects the relation among them, setting higher or lower control accessibility from one space to the others.

‘Healthcare environments should provide comfort to counteract the psychological and symbolic effects that are commonly assigned to them.’

quantified through their integration values. This quantification unfolds in the

representation of the spatial configuration through a chromatic matrix as an indicator of levels of accessibility of the studied system. The hotter the colour, the greater the possibility of human contact, while cooler colours indicate more segregated areas, hence less potential encounters, movement or visibility among people – integration and depth concepts originate from the level of both topological visual and movement accessibility. The representation and quantification

described above is what defines SS, or an interpretation of the functions that each space has over the others. The assessment of potential for levels of visual accessibility and movement becomes an element that enables the analysis of how people use the space and how space configuration itself can induce certain usage patterns.

About guidelines and visual accessibility In the case analysed here, the relationship between the Rehabilitation Gymnasium and other spaces constituting the Children’s Rehabilitation Center was taken into account. This relationship was understood, both through a global reading of the space and through local analysis considering only the spatial structure of the gymnasium. Space configuration analysis often

requires non-spatial parameters. The two main opinions about how the gymnasium


rehabilitation should be set up as a space, that fosters greater integration and encounters between people, were identified. In the first, the managers of CRC believe that it is desirable to meet professionals and patients during treatment, while in the second, the physical therapists understand that space should provide greater privacy and, therefore, less interaction with other people in the rehabilitation process. The convex map of CRC shows the aisles that connect points to all sectors as the most integrated spaces and, therefore, the most accessible ones in the system. The first evidence of spatial configuration seen in the map of CRC is the high segregation of laboratories and of the rehabilitation gymnasium. The labs are restricted to specific CRC employees and they need privacy with as few people walking around as possible. The space configuration analysis supports the efficiency of the spatial form regarding the location of laboratories, differing from the managers’ views. CRC spatial configuration, considering the position of the gymnasium in relation to other sectors (global scale), is structured in a way that does not stimulate interaction in the most important space for rehabilitation. By not promoting interactions, CRC configuration is closer to what therapists think is ideal for recovery than to what managers think. The spatial form is also the result of cultural dynamics that shape each society. In this case, the divergence of opinions regarding the presence of people in the gymnasium is also a reflex of certain

maps are, in part, confirmed by visibility maps. The location of the gymnasium opposing a large and open area leads to visual integration between this and other sectors of the center. The area with the highest visibility is the waiting room/reception, which is directly connected to the access corridor that leads to the gymnasium. The gymnasium, on its turn, is the space with the second highest level of visual accessibility. Despite its ‘privileged location’, the gymnasium is relatively segregated, as it is used according to the personal choices of the therapists, who mostly opt for private attendance. At the local scale (gymnasium only), the spatial analysis (convex and visibility maps) showed that areas destined to common treatment are the most accessible ones, as expected by the administration (with the exception of the central aisle). Individual treatments – the ones that require more privacy – are performed with higher levels of segregation, according to the demand of their caretakers and following what has been determined to each space. The common use room in the gymnasium

has the largest potential for visual accessibility. The red spot located in this area (Fig. 3) demonstrates how its spatial configuration is aligned with the administrative policies, by enhancing the visual contact among staff, caretakers and patients, while still reserving some privacy to the individual rooms. According to the questionnaires, the

therapists agree that the exchange of experiences among users have positive effects that facilitate the rehabilitation process, reaching the goals established by the Ministry of Health’ humanisation policy. Thus, greater spatial integration tends to facilitate the exchange of experiences among users, increasing the sense of security in the space. The absence of barriers makes the rehabilitation space informal and fosters interpersonal relationships.

‘The absence of barriers makes the rehabilitation space informal and fosters interpersonal relationships.’


Source: Hillier and Hanson (1984, p. 148) edited by the authors.

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