Explanation of House Form Indicators, as Mediators of Appearance and Meaning, in the Inside-Outside Relationship

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D Candidate of Architecture, Department of Architecture, School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Professor, Department of Architecture, School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


The form is a multi-meaning concept. It is the interface between the inside and outside through two aspects: the inner and outer space, the human body and physical form. This interface operates on three levels: physical-environmental, functional-behavioral, and perceptual-semantic. These aspects are often overlooked, but visual effects play an important role in the design process. So, it is necessary to develop a logical model and precise indicators as an advisor. On the other hand, the connection between "form" and "what is not a form" can explain this concept. The objective of this paper is to identify indicators for designing that establish a multi-level relationship between the objective aspect (appearance) and subjective aspect (meaning), clarify the concept of house form, and enhance the possibilities in the relationship between inside and outside. So, the fundamental question is: which indicators of house form provide the probability of a multi-level and multi-meaning relationship between the inside and outside in design?
The research approach is qualitative. In accordance with analytic induction, a content analysis method is used to code the contexts that refer to modern and postmodern architecture. First, a logical model for form is created through literature review. The relationship between appearance and meaning is established through the levels of house components. These multi-level components respond to the object-subject duality and reflect the multi-meaning concept. Second, the coding is done based on this model in three steps. The purposive sampling for coding is done by linking "form" and "what is not a form" to discover a wide range of meanings related to form.
Six categories are derived from coding contexts. The form design indicators are created by aggregating, comparing, identifying similarities, adding, and reducing their subcategories. The indicators are explained in three clusters: 1. indicators of borders; 2. indicators of thresholds; and 3. indicators of surfaces. This attitude is based on the complexity of a multi-level and multi-meaning concept. The indicators of borders include creating delay space, creating depth of mass, combining different planes within the borders, multi-shell of mass, and flexibility and adaptability of borders. The indicators of thresholds consist of the similarity and continuity of the transition region, the significance of light penetration, supply needs, soft connection, and the arrangement of border shapes and passage patterns. The indicators of surfaces include unity, identity, balance, embodiment, and non-prescriptive ornamentation.
 The similarity of the discussed indicators lies in their ability to enhance both visible and invisible motivation in the architectural design of a house. They aim to create a soft transition hierarchy between inside and outside, repeatation in the perception of the mental image, and integrate visual, dynamic, and sensory elements to achieve a multi-dimensional effect. The indicators affect each other. The border indicators generate the inner portion of the threshold and surface. The surface indicators determine the appearance of the surface and the threshold. The indicators of threshold are the mediation of borders and surfaces. This approach to form causes events to generate meaning.


Main Subjects

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