The Aleatoric Milieu: An Architectural Theory on Proxemics and Navigation Design
Lui, Elaine Yan Ling
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The Aleatoric Milieu is an architectural theory that combines the space people require to feel at ease and natural wayfinding. By investigating how buildings and cities naturally possess or have been observed to develop ways to accommodate such considerations, we can learn how to create buildings that are hospitable to their communities. The Aleatoric Milieu provides a tool for spatial design that incorporates user-friendly spaces in cities and buildings. The theory strives to foster healthy transitions between inter-personal dynamics while intuitively connecting people to services a building provides, establishing an accessible environment. In order to design for cities and buildings that consist of a hospitable design language, how the human body and its receptors interact with others is used to analyze dimensions of public, social and personal scale. To navigate these transitions in their application to the purpose of city and building infrastructure – be it retail, parks, monuments, or an information kiosk – requires a narration of space. Navigation design provides a spatial narration of space using an interconnected concept distilled into the narthex, path, and node. Narthex refers to an initial location of first impressions, informing users of a node and allowing for decisions to continue on a path to the node. The path refers to a recurring architectural treatment that edifies the node – the point of architectural interest, purpose or necessity. Therefore, the Aleatoric Milieu consists of two main parts: proxemics and navigation design with a third organizing factor. Natural city development principles are used to link proxemics with navigation design to arrive at an architectural language that coincides with the development of cities. The greatest density exists in the public sphere, and the least dense travels the proxemic scale to increased privacy and vice versa through the principles of navigation design. Thus, the Aleatoric Milieu can be applied to strategies for design in specific proxemics at the end of chapter three. These principles are visible in museums, as they are institutions that functions as miniature cities – they are the holding place of culture, ideas, or objects that exemplify a city. As such, in this paper, museums are used as case studies to examine the success or obstacles to hospitality through an analysis that uses the Aleatoric Milieu. Finally, to illustrate a sequence of nodes, a museum design demonstrates a strategy of the Aleatoric Milieu that includes navigation design and proxemics. It is tested against a series of scenarios to accommodate the proxemics of “non-contact middle-class adults” with the addition of child-care supervision standards of Ontario, Canada. The Aleatoric Milieu design theory ultimately strives to arrive at an architectural framework that creates inclusive space. Implementing these design considerations can produce concurrent buildings that welcomes and attracts its users, while naturally fostering a sense of community over time.
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