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USERS' EVALUATIONS OF HOUSE FAăADES:Preference, Complexity and Impressivenes

By : Aysu Akalin, Kemal Yildirim,Christopher Wilson, Aysun Saylan

This research solicits the opinions of the residents of the Keši÷ren district of Ankara, Turkey, in order to learn their preferences about their local postmodern environment where the municipality forces all contractors and architects to adhere to strict planning laws requiring Turkish folk and Islamic architectural references. The Municipality of Keši÷ren, as an agent of civil power, manages the architectural and urban transformation of the area from a district formerly composed of squatter housing to one comprised of, in the words of Robert Venturi, "decorated sheds," in an effort to create a different looking environment rich in nostalgia and excitement. In this research, a total of 7 different sets of apartment fašades were analyzed, with each set comprising three examples each of minimum complexity (representing the former condition of the district), intermediate complexity (representing "high" architecture designed by an architect, which does not exist in the district) and maximum complexity (representing the present postmodern condition of the district). The main hypothesis of the study was that preference rates would be high for intermediately altered "high style" houses by showing the existence of a U-shaped relationship between preference and complexity. That is, fašades representing an intermediate level of complexity would be favored over less complex and more complex fašades. It was also assumed that there would be a difference in the ratings of different age groups. A questionnaire was carried out with 50 adults (aged 30-45) and 50 high school students (aged 18-20) of Keši÷ren, who were asked to rate a total of 21 photographs from 7 apartment complexes with the help of a five-point semantic differential scales under three headings: preference, complexity and impressiveness. The results proved the existence of a U-shaped relationship between preference and complexity. On the other hand, younger respondents, compared to older respondents, gave more favorable ratings to the physical qualities of the photographed buildings.
Keywords : Preference, Complexity, Impressiveness, Fašades, Turkey.

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