Lu, Yi and Bozovic-Stamenovic, Ruzica. "Cultural Perspective of Wayfinding Behavior: Exploring the Socio-Spatial Variable in Three Chinese Hospitals Case Studies," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 3, issue 2 (2009).
In the era of rapid economic growth, China is witnessing huge transformations of the built environment, accompanied by the problem of spatial disorientation in large scale buildings, such as hospitals and airports. In search of possible resolutions, we are looking into the relationship between wayfinding performance in hospital environments and the Chinese traditional spatial archetype. This study focuses on a few of the most characteristic properties of traditional Chinese architecture: the axiality and openness. By having subjects carry out various wayfinding tasks in three urban hospitals that differ in terms of the degree of axiality and openness, we examine how socio-spatial variables impact spatial navigation. The result supports the relationship between search performance and spatial properties described from a cultural point of view. It suggests that wayfinding performance could be affected by cultural characteristics immanent in the Chinese society. Acknowledging the deficiencies of this small scale study we may want to restrict its relevance to inspiring further research in this direction. In the long term, we might expect new prospects leading to important implication for the future of hospital design.