The Architecture of Way-Finding Wayfinding Process Design in Healthcare Architecture-



Quality of people's wayfinding in an unknown and complicated environment is a challenging issue which has engaged many researchers since the 70s till the present time. Cognitive and environmental researchers believe that ability of people in perception of the environment and wayfinding are different from each other. Now, how can the environment of a building meet the various needs of all its users in wayfinding? This issue becomes more complicated in hospitals, due to depletion of users' physical and cognitive resources because of sickness and patient care, attention decrease due to anxiety and also space complexity and difficult names of some wards. Therefore, the present study deals with investigation of the role of architectural design knowledge and art in facilitating people's wayfinding process which aimed to provide an approach to promote the quality of the country's medical environments has been performed by a descriptive-analytic method. Findings of the present study have been organized and provided in two chapters, theoretical principles of wayfinding and wayfinding design; theoretical principles deals with the investigation of wayfinding concept, wayfinding potential in different people, wayfinding factors and way showing strategies for hospital users. And in the chapter pertaining to principles of design, design strategies, role of architecture and information factors are described and at the end, a process has been suggested to design wayfinding process in hospitals. Based on the findings, quality of people’s wayfinding in hospital is like a spatial problem-solving process which requires decision making and executing the decision. Certainly, decisions making and executing them depends on obtaining information and processing them. Consequently, during the design of wayfinding process by applying all the capabilities related to architectural and information factors, number of times one has to solve the problem will be decreased; and moreover, the complexity of the problems would be reduced too. Also, by specifying the locations about which the person needs to be guided, those information understanding and processing of which is easier, will be prepared in an artistic way. All these are fulfilled by knowing individuals’ recognition and behavioral differences and considering their state of worries in the hospital. It is needed that wayfinding design is initiated since the beginning of the process of space planning considering three main goals including: 1- creating legible spaces, 2- separation and emphasizing on the restrictions 3- creating a legible circulation system. At this stage, studying and applying scenario-writing techniques, different requirements of wayfinding users, will be collected and influence the design formation. After formation of the general design, locations which need guiding information and appropriate data for each place are specified by adjusting various scenarios and design. Now, various factors of wayfinding (architecture, graphic and etc) are replaced in the form of an information layer. Architectural layer has the first priority and after that other layers with reinforcing, clarifying, and complementary roles (for disabled people in wayfinding) are applied. Application of the findings obtained in this study can improve the users' safety, functional efficiency and satisfaction as well as facilitating people's wayfinding in hospitals.