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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Representation of architecture (systematic and empirical analysis) Kanetkar, Vinaykumar Vaman


Representation can be defined as a replication or reconstruction of a system which exists, has existed or is expected to exist. Furthermore, replication consists of a concept-expression derived by the selection by the observer(s) of system certain characteristics and has some stated and unstated rules about concept-expression. Concept-expression is accomplished via a medium by the observer(s) using suitable instruments. Given this definition of representation, it becomes possible to explore verbal notions about architectural system. Based on phenomenological and empirical work in "meaning in architecture", this study attempts to establish 24 notions such as form, scale and proportion, texture, spaciousness, organisation, complexity, modernity, pleasure. 78 empirical studies reported in English and conducted in the last decade gave insights into following four areas of the study. 1) To establish the information gap between the actual building and each of its representation on various architecture related notions. 2) To explicate the relationship between money and time required for representation and the information gap between environment and its representation. 3) To determine the extent to which observers can comprehend the representations in terms of the architectural notions. 4) To derive a classification of representation using notions related to architecture. This study used a space relation diagram, verbal description, plan and section, sketch drawing, isometric drawing, perspective drawing, black and white photograph, colour slide, architectural model and the actual building to represent the study building, Gaslight Square. The survey questionnaire, rating techniques, study field station and representational techniques were carefully constructed to fulfil the above purposes. Results based on 1400 sets of observations made by 185 respondents suggest that there can be an information gap between the actual building and its representation. Generally, the less abstract and more detailed the representation, the better are architectural notions conveyed. The value for the relationship (measured by Kendall's Tau) between the general impression conveyed by representation of the actual building and the cost of the representations was 0.78 and for the time required to prepare for representations was 0.5683. Analysis of variance suggested that observers were able to distinguish between the amount of information conveyed by various representations and and between architectural notions. Furthermore, the difference between architects and non-architects were statistically significant and there were recognizable differences between their reactions to representations. Overall similarity between all the representations, as indicated by cluster analysis was 40.6 Percent. Eye-level, overview and abstract were the three major categories derived from the 10 representations used in this study.

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