“Essentially It’s Just a Lot of Bedrooms”: Architectural Design, Prescribed Personalization and the Construction of Care ‘Beds’ for Later Life

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This paper draws on ethnographic data from a UK ESRC funded study called Buildings in the Making. The project aims to open up the black box of architectural work to explore what happens between the commissioning of architectural projects through to the construction of buildings and seeks to understand how ideas about care for later life are operationalized into designs. Drawing on recent scholarship on ‘materialities of care’ and ‘practising architectures’, which emphasize the salience of material objects for understanding the politics and practices of care, we focus on ‘beds.’ References to ‘beds’ were ubiquitous throughout our data, and we analyse their varied uses and imaginaries as a way in to understanding the embedded nature of architectural work. Four themes emerged: ‘commissioning architectures and the commodification of beds’; ‘adjusting architectures and socio-spatial inequalities of beds’; ‘prescribing architectures and person-centred care beds’; and ‘phenomenological architectures and inhabiting beds’. We offer the concept prescribed personalization to capture how practising architectures come to reconcile the multiple tensions of commodification and the codification of person centred care, in ways that might mitigate phenomenological and serendipitous qualities of life and living in care settings during later life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1156-1171
JournalSociology of Health and Illness: A Journal of Medical Sociology
Issue number7
Early online date27 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Apr 2018

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