Post Occupancy Evaluation: An Educational Goal and Tool in Architecture

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

1 Associate Professor, School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran

2 Ph.D. Student, School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran

Abstract

Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) involves systematic evaluation of opinion about buildings in use, from the perspective of the people who use them. It assesses how well buildings match users' needs, and identifies ways to improve building design, performance and fitness for purpose. POE is an established task of architects in some parts of the world which requires a special attention, not only for its usefulness for improvement of quality of future designs, but also for its potential to enhance the traditional methods of evaluation which have been used in architectural education. In order for POE to be applied in the profession of architecture in Iran, there is a serious need for specialists in providing services in the areas of interviewing, inspecting, and developing behavioral maps. Therefore, there is a need to review the educational curriculum to get the young students trained to provide such services. In addition, there is a good possibility to provide the necessary knowledge about POE through the social channels. These methods could be categorized in four types: 1. Case Method; 2. Problem Based Learning (PBL); 3. Service-Based Education; and 4. Community Design Education. This paper focuses on the possible means of reviewing the curriculum and exercises for architectural technical schools. It uses the results of a research conducted in a vocational school in the city of Gum from 2010-2013. According to the authors’ research about the technicians educational curriculum throughout the past four years, there is an excellent potential to introduce POE educational materials in their educational package. In this research, four steps were taken with regards to improving students’ abilities to become acquainted to POE in design studios, they included: 1. Providing an alternative form of projects for design studios; 2. Developing an appropriate form of conducting studio sessions through group projects and group critiques; 3. Developing an evaluation method ('naturalistic method'); and 4. Developing an educational method for measuring building quality (the selected tool was Design Quality Indicator (DQI) used in the UK). The results of the experiments throughout one semester of research could be introduced in three phases: Phase1. Introducing POE to the instructors. The results in this phase indicated that there is a need for training the instructors to believe the process and also, there is a need for students to have more research oriented exercises in their course works; Phase 2. Preparatory steps for acquiring required skills such as: behavioral mapping, interviewing, and etc. through field work and site visits. The results in this phase indicated that student’s knowledge should be increased in previous exercises and there is a serious need for well-advised field trips. ; Phase 3. Performing POE for the visited projects. The results in this phase indicated that there is a need to improve some research techniques (i.e. preparing questionnaires) among students and educators. This study showed that such a new task for education and the profession of architecture in Iran could be successful only if there is enough cooperation within the educational environment. This cooperation requires instructors understanding and belief about POE and developing an interaction between POE related courses with design projects. 
 

Keywords