Explaining the Concept of Outside-Inside in In-Between Spaces of Apartment Housing “The Case Study of Balcony in Three Types of Tehran Residential Complexes

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Professor of Architecture, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran

2 MA student of Architecture, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran


Design of the new apartment buildings in Iran, has been faced to a decline of quality of local life and an improper interaction between inside-outside of residential spaces. This interaction can be affected by the quality of in-between spaces in different scales of apartment buildings in residential developments. In-between spaces of apartment houses refer to a hierarchy of the main entrance, open spaces between buildings, entrance space of apartment building (lobby), in-between spaces of apartments in each floor, the entrance space of each apartment, and the balcony. The review of the related literature shows that, three categories of perceptual-semantic, functional-behavioral, and physical-environmental factors in a social-cultural context, determine the features of in-between spaces. In order to test the suggested theoretical model, among the defined in-between spaces, the balcony was selected as a private open space between apartments and the residential semi-public open spaces. The reason for selection of balcony was it’s importance in balance of inside-outside interaction in terms of privacy, overlook, social interaction between neighbors and an important impact on general image of the residential environments. Balcony can provide a proper or improper interaction between outside-inside based on the type of open space such as street, open space of the development or complex and other private and public surrounding buildings that apartment face to. Moreover the quality of interaction between inside-outside is affected by the type of inner space such as bedroom, living room, Kitchen, etc., connected to the balcony. The main research question is that, in different social-cultural contexts, which factors influence the quality of the balcony, and what the people expect from the balcony’s performance. Three residential apartments in Tehran were selected, representing various socio-cultural contexts, including Behjatabad apartments from higher level, Ekbatan housing development from middle level, and Amir-almomenin apartments in Parand new town representing the lower level. The research strategy was qualitative, carried out with the use of a survey questionnaire, interview with the residents and using a semantic differential technique. Statistical analyses of data have been conducted with SPSS-16. The results of research showed that, the relation of inside-outside residential spaces, as well as their link with the social status of the residents can be explained by means of the six factors within the suggested theoretical framework. Design and construction of balcony as an in-between space should provide a proper relation between the apartment’s outside-inside by means of three dimensions of suggested model. physical-environmental dimension including correct local orientation and paying attention to the construction of the balcony as an important part of the building façade; functional-behavioral dimension including multi-functionality of the balcony and its useful size in accordance to the residents’ needs; and perceptual-semantic dimension features including paying attention to outside view and observing the balcony’s beauty in combination to other elements of the façade. Moreover, in order to improve the quality of balcony, attention should be paid to secondary uses and multi-functionality of the in-between spaces in programming and design of the apartment houses.