Belčič / The Right to Choose

The Right to Choose Democratising Older People's Housing Design trhough Mass Customisation

Authors: Ana Belčič, PhD student, University of Ljubljana; Sara Eloy, assistant professor / director of and fellow researcher, University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL)

Supervisors: Anja Planišček, assistant professor, University of Ljubljana; Jana Mali, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Ljubljana

Research stage: intermediate doctoral stage

Category: Paper


This paper presents the topic of non-institutional old-age housing responding to the needs of older people craving both community and independence. This is done in the context of the potential transformation of existing Slovenian single-family houses into co-housing units for community-based ageing that promotes socialising, resource sharing, and reciprocity. The proposal responds to the need to address a universal issue of our ageing population in their largely maladjusted, privately-owned housing, considering a factor that is often neglected – the need for personalisation. To guide this architectonic adaptation, we present a design-driven research method, based on a mass customization approach, used as a tool for tackling a socially prevalent problem. The tool employed was a formalised design method that can cater both to the demands of mass, large scale problems and equally, to personalised needs, and deliver a large number of design solutions that meet diverse requirements; a transformation shape grammar.

Keywords: old-age housing, community-based ageing, mass customisation