The Effect of Built Environment on Students` Interactions in Informal Spaces of Architecture Schools, Two Case Studies in Iran*


1 Assistant Professor, Faculty of Architecture and Art, Bu-ali sina University, Hamadan, Iran.

2 MA Student, Faculty of Architecture and Art, Bu-ali sina University, Hamadan, Iran.


Students’ social life in all formal and informal spaces of the faculty can greatly influence their learning process. These interactions are more regarded through training design as a social art which is involved to others from the very beginning such as understanding the problem to final steps and implementation. An issue which is important before interactions through educational structure of architecture schools is a proper environment for these interactions which are mostly disregarded in designing educational spaces. Since environmental qualities can make potentials or limits for social interactions and be effective on students’ place preference (attracting groups and gatherings), studying these effective factors is important in order to qualify architecture educational spaces. In this research, first we gathered researchers` queries about the role of built space toward social interactions in order to find the influential factors. Then these factors were classified _based on canter model of place_ in three parts as physical aspects of place, activities and semantic aspects of place. The factors included proper facilities for sitting, variety and choice, aesthetic, dimensions and proportions of the space, space organization, light and noise, adjacent functions and visibility for physical aspects; passive and active avocation for activities and sense of belonging and concept of being collective and public for semantic aspects of place. Afterward, type and way of students’ interactions and effective environmental factors for facilitating or limiting these interactions are studied by qualitative research on architecture faculty of Bu-Ali-Sina University and Fine Arts campus as two case-studies. The qualitative research was conducted by means of interviews and observations and the results used for completing the canter based framework of the study. So food access, access to academic facilities and connection to open space were added to physical aspect and sense of place to semantic aspects. In this research, data are gathered through using interview, observation and questionnaire. First, effective place factors are offered by using interviews, observations and previous studies based on Canter model of place. The factors extracted from interviews and observations were presented as a questionnaire to a larger sample in order to find each factor’s effect for student’s place preference in gatherings. Students should answered the questions separately for educational and friendly gatherings. Data were analyzed by SPSS software using Freidman and X2 tests. The results suggest that students prefer some informal places of the faculty for gathering which have some specific qualities; these specifications are different for educational and friendly gatherings. In friendly gatherings, Sense of belonging, friendly atmosphere of place, food access, dimensions and aesthetic are the most important factors in students’ place preference. On the other hand, the significant features in educational gatherings are space organization, access to academic facilities, lighting, silence and furniture. Altogether, semantic aspects for friendly gatherings and physical aspect for educational gatherings were more important than other factors. But in spite of the resemblances, there was a difference in describing the ideal social place between students of two faculties. In Bu-Ali-Sina University, the ideal place for friendly and educational gatherings are more similar than those of fine art faculty.


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