Testing the Transmission of Design Principles from Designers to Recievers: An Assesment Model in the Field of Environmental Aesthetics

Dinc P.

GAZI UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SCIENCE, vol.21, no.2, pp.65-78, 2008 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 21 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI)
  • Page Numbers: pp.65-78
  • Keywords: Environmental aesthetics, affective appraisals, building properties, cognitive properties, building evaluation, pre-architects
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Architectural works cannot be judged independent from their design principles. Although affirmations of architects explicate these principles, the actual success of a building highly depends on its power of manifesting these principles through presence. In this context, the study proposes an assessment model that tests the communication between an architect and architecture students. Two retail centers, by Turkish architect Merih Karaaslan (1949-2002), were the environmental stimuli. Having been based on similar design principles, program content and size characteristics facilities differ in form and configuration. As a preliminary study, a group of graduate students (n=10) studied the texts, drawings and buildings of the architect, reviewed his general approach to architecture and defined the design principles that generated the two buildings. Then an empirical research was conducted. Having been bused to the facilities and accomplished a walk-through in each, the undergraduate students on site (n=41) were given the questionnaires testing form, configuration and spatial impact variables. Results revealed significant differences for the spatial impact and form meaning that participants failed to diagnose majority of the observable principles. Participants were also asked to evaluate the success of the architect relating to the two buildings. Being different from the hypothesized, divergent levels of success were diagnosed. In addition, after completing the on-site evaluations in each building, participants studied a set of 12 images of architectural works and were asked to guess whether each design could be a work of the architect of the two retail centers. For the 8 building images that actually belonged to the architect, the percentages of right guesses were low. All these findings indicated failures in transmission. The study highlighted the discord between a designer and receivers. Through exemplifying the inconsistency within the profession, the research revealed architect-architect variances in judgments parallel to the architect-layperson differences that have been profoundly studied.