A Human-Centred Strategy Explicating and Designing Hidden Programs in Architectural Design

Ruth Stevens, Ann Petermans, Jan Vanrie


In 1978, Silverstein and Jacobson articulated the "hidden program" as the socio- spatial backbone of an architectural design, an intriguing plea to incorporate users psychological needs. Notwithstanding human-centred foci in design research, and recent professional attempts to anchor human-centred design in practice, it has not yet been formalised what psychological needs can be addressed nor how "hidden programs" come about. As the built environment today showcases interesting examples of "richer" programs, these programmatic gestures remain implicit, and they are therefore not systematically incorporated. This articles' aim is bifold, namely, to explicate these design efforts through a retrospective view of the design process via a specific novel human-centred lens focussing on psychological needs in architecture, and to interpret the findings into a strategy to design what we now label "enriched" programs.

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