Architectural Education
architecture affecting human behavior
how do architecture depending on cultural features affect social behavior in residential units in lebanon?
Shereen Khalil
architecture affecting human behavior
Shereen, it depends upon (a) which culture you are talking about, given that Lebanon has a long history of Christians and Moslems living side by side with each other, and (b) it depends upon the climate.

As to how cultural design features affect social behaviour, I know from the several years I lived in Turkey, that many if not most apartments are designed according to the Tukish mMslem domestic division of the Selamlik (the more general social rooms around the entrance) and Haremlik (the more private family only rooms deeper within the apartment).

To some like me who was born and raised for the most part in Britain, in most homes here there are no particular divisions between the use of rooms, other than functional.

In the past (the not so distant past) when I was growing up, most urban housing built in the Victorian and Edwardian eras and in the suburbs between World War one and World War Two had "front parlours" which were used for formal social events and the family usually ate in the kitchen. So these front parlours are a cultural parallel to the Selamlik.

However, with the introduction of Black and White TV into homes (mainly from the 1950s onwards) the "front parlour" gradually became less formal and today the "front parlour" is now known as "the lounge" where the furniture consists of one or more squishy sofas and a flat TV on the wall.
Frank John Snelling
architecture affecting human behavior
Shereen, an afterthought, you should include the whole spectrum of human behaviour from social to anti-social, because human behaviour is not always positive (and vice versa) human behaviour is not always negative.

Similarly, architecture (and in particular "designed" architecture can have both good and bad effects upon people. I say this because traditional and vernacular architectural designs which have developed and evolved over thousands of year are both (a) adapted to their environment, climate and culture, and (b) through reason of having been tried and tested many, many times, which means that most of the design faults have been found and corrected.

On the other hand, modern designs (almost anything built using modern cement concrete) are by "designers" who have thrown away the rule book (and who have been taught to throw away the rule book by the Avante Garde) and therefore these designers `reinvent the wheel` each time they design a building, so that each new modern design is a prototype and the people who live in them are like lab test animals or rats in a maze, where the end result is an unknown and where the faults of the design (the design faults which create anti-social or negative behaviour) are much harder to understand or resolve.

For example, tower apartment blocks may look pretty on the drawing board, but the original tower apartment blocks were invented at a time when wealthy people in England, in continental Europe and America had large country homes with many servants, but needed somewhere to live temporarily while in the big cities, and so tower blocks of apartments were built for these people and their `live-in` servants.

Then those of the working class who were servants to the wealthy began leave "domestic service" for better pay and conditions and at about the same time the remaining servants had to compete with the introduction of labour-saving machines into homes. So that finally wealthy people began using blocks of flats without `live-in` servants, but with hotel type service such as cooked meals, etc.

Then gradually the principle of the tower apartment blocks for the wealthy was changed to tower apartment blocks for the working classes, but the point that was missed was that while the wealthy could afford to pay for the services of other people to look after their children, the working classes had and have no such luxuary and therefore working class children from tower blocks quickly learnt to play down on the street and their mothers high up in the tower blocks were unable to regulate their behaviour, so that anti-social behaviour has become accepted as a normal part of society. And because anti-social behaviour is now such a normal part of everyday life, there is no comprehension that anti-behaviour is negative.
Frank John Snelling


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