Re-Coding Homes as a Flexible Design Approach for Living Environments

Re-Coding Homes as a Flexible Design Approach for Living Environments

S. Banu Garip, Nilufer Saglar Onay, Ervin Garip
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2823-5.ch013
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This chapter discusses the results of the “Recoding Homes Project,” which has been conducted as a TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) research project with the title “A User-Centered Model Research Towards a Flexible Interior Spatial Design for Mass Housing Units: Urban Renewal Housing.” The project aims to improve the interior spaces of mass housing projects in accordance with user needs and to provide solutions that will increase the flexibility of interior spaces. The design model outlined in this chapter has the potential to change the traditional ways of housing supply as it gives the possibility to produce complete living environments with all their necessary components. It investigates how an interior design model can transform existing spaces into more flexible and more functional housing units. This way of housing supply can eliminate the non-compatibility between the architectural features and interior components often chosen randomly without evaluating actual conditions and needs.
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In Turkey the discussions about new housing settlements have different perspectives. In housing market new housing units even the most luxurious apartments are evaluated according to their overall areas, number of rooms and other quantitative properties. Housing projects developed for high income groups differ from the others only by the quality of construction and the existence of an artificial identity. According to Ek (2012), architects design only the characteristics of settlements and services by attaching some popular concepts to them for underwriting rather than designing alternative spatial-organizations providing different living qualities for different inhabitants. Mostly even the purchasers are not aware of the lack of qualitative properties that need to be evaluated in housing units. Issues like the cultural and social background of inhabitants; spatial properties that support domestic activities and environmental factors are often being disregarded.

In academic studies and research, the architectural rigidness of mass housing units is mostly discussed through case studies in different regions of Turkey. In the housing literature of Turkey, the uniformity in the quality of architectural design is undertaken as a quality problem, because it causes to monotonous built-environment and inhibits the variety in spatial experience of the inhabitants. Moreover, most of these studies agree generally on that this problem mainly affects users’ living standards and decreases their living quality (Tekeli 2008, Sey 1994, Bilgin 2002). Bektaş (2007) stated that the new houses and residences built today in Turkey are intended to suit a different style of living. Bektaş (2007) also called this new period “influenced”, “integrated” or “modified” and a new synthesis, which have not matured at present, will evolve. The new houses and residences are mostly built similar to each other, ignoring all the climatically, geographical and local influences which traditional Turkish house valued a lot.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Modular Design: Design based on interchangeable components in order to increase flexibility.

Design Parameter: A variable that is evaluated during the design process determining the characteristics of the final object or system.

Gecekondu: Self-built houses without any permission from authorities.

Design Matrix: A matrix of abstract design solutions originated from each other.

Mass-Customization: Producing products that are customized due to the clients’ requests, characteristics, etc.

User-Centered Design: Design that evaluates user needs and preferences at all stages of the design process.

Spatial Solution: Determination of appropriate answers to a specific design problem concerned with interior space.

Expert System: A computer program that uses artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to simulate the judgment and behavior of a human or an organization.

Flexible Interior Space: Interior that can be used for different activities and purposes at different times.

Spatial Potentials: Features and facts that can be interpreted to increase the performance and quality of space.

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