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CONTRIBUTION TO ARCHITECTURAL

THOUGHT

3. AMOS RAPOPORT
ARCHITECT AND ONE OF THE
FOUNDERS OF ENVIRONMENTBEHAVIOR STUDIES (EBS)

6 B TOSA , BY :ANKITHA DEV M.D AND Ar. NIDHI


JOSHI

AMOS RAPOPORT- INTRODUCTION


NAME: Amos Rapoport
BORN: 28 March 1929, Warsaw, Poland

He is an architect and one of the founders


of Environment-Behavior Studies (EBS).

He is the author of over 200 academic


publications in this field, including books
that have been translated into foreign
languages, like French, Spanish, German,
Japanese and Chinese.
His work has focused mainly on the role of
cultural variables, cross-cultural studies,
and theory development and synthesis.
His influential book House, Form & Culture
explores how culture, human behavior, and
the environment affect house form.

AMOS RAPOPORT- EARLY LIFE AND ACADEMIC CAREER


EARLY LIFE :
Amos was born on 28 March 1929 in Warsaw, Poland.
In 1939, he and his parents fled Warsaw and after crossing the USSR,
they found refuge in Shanghai, where they spent the war in the
Japanese-controlled ghetto.
Amos attended the Shanghai Jewish School.
Following the Japanese surrender, he immigrated to Australia, where the
family settled in Melbourne.
In 1955 he graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from
theUniversity of Melbourne.
In 1957 he graduated with an MA fromRice University (USA)
ACADEMIC CAREER
Rapoport has taught at theUniversity of Melbourne, University of
Sydney University of California, Berkeley,University College London.
From 1972 until his retirement in 2001 he taught at theUniversity of
WisconsinMilwaukeewhere he was a Distinguished Professor in the
School of Architecture and Urban Planning.
He has also held visiting appointments in Israel, Turkey, Great Britain,
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, India, and Switzerland,
among other places.

AMOS RAPOPORT- BOOKS


1969 -House, Form & Culture
1976 -The Mutual Interaction of People
and Their Built Environment. A CrossCultural Perspective.
1977 -Human Aspects of Urban Form:
Towards a Man-Environment Approach to
Urban Form and Design
1982 -The Meaning of the Built
Environment: A Nonverbal Communication
Approach
1990 -History and Precedent in
Environmental Design
2003 -Culture, Architecture, and Design

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


BOOK SUMMARY
The book House Form and Culture was originally written in 1969 by Amos
Rapoport and published as one of seven books in the Foundations of
Cultural Geography Series edited by Philip Wagner.
This series considered the underlying theoretical constructs that have
shaped, and continue to shape, the built environment, including religion,
beliefs, customs and socio-cultural forces at large.
Rapoport presented neatly distilled correlates of culture and house form
with a large volume of cultural illustrations from across the globe.
The book is also a presentation of cross-disciplinary studies of dwellings,
buildings and settlements from architecture, planning and cultural
geography.
It is considered to be the first book in tackling the matter of the why of the
house form, rather than just making descriptions of house forms. The why,
in Rapoports opinion, is not related to physical constrains as it was
commonly believed, but to a more complex web of factors, out of which a
cultural one, freedom of choice is the preeminent one.
Rapoports book is the direct opposite of traditional patterns of study in
architectural theory and history where efforts have always been on
monuments and high style buildings of various civilizations.
The foundation of the book was laid on the intellectual debate of the
meaning and characteristics of folk, primitive, and vernacular buildings on
one side, and modern buildings on the otherpossibly even forming a
continuum.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


Relying on the work of Gould and Kolb (1964), Redfield (1965) and Mumford
(1961), among others, Rapoport argued that primitive buildings were
produced by primitive societies which had a diffuse knowledge of
everything by all with elementary technology.
The book linked behaviour and form, and theorized that built form has
influence on behaviour, not in a causal manner but in the way of
coincidences.
Rapoport structures the book in 6 chapters logically interconnected.
The 1st chapter The nature and definition of the field is a necessary
attempt to define the works discipline area, given its innovativeness.
Chapter 2 Alternative theories of house form both presents alternative
hypothesis on the origin of the house form, and questions them as the true
origin. Throughout this chapter, he sequentially describes ands questions
the ideas of climate, technological constraints, influence of place, defense,
economics and religion as the generators of form.

Rapoport debunked the many alternative theories of house form by


refuting the rather extreme explanation and weak foundation of
architecture that climate and the need for shelter determine the form of
dwellings

After giving enough evidence on the supremacy of culture over climate in


determining house form, he submitted that it is a characteristic of
primitive and vernacular buildings that they typically respond to climate
very well.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


On Chapter 3, Socio-Cultural factors and house forms-Rapoport details his theory
which he summarizes as : My basic hypothesis, then is that house form is not simply
the result of physical forces or any single casual factor but is the consequence of a
whole range of socio-cultural factors seen in their broadest terms
After his main point has been presented in this chapter, Rapoport devotes chapter 4
and 5 to review two of the previously discarded hypothesis, acknowledging that they
are important if limited to the status of secondary or modifying factors. Chapter 4
examines Climate as modifying factor and Chapter 5 Construction, materials and
technology as modifying Factors.
Rapoport concluded the book with Chapter 6 ,a look at the present. In this way, the
book presented the relationship between house form and culture from the primitive
to the vernacular and 1960s modern period.
He noted that in the past there were hierarchies in society which were legible on built
forms but at the time of writing there was the general loss of hierarchies within
society, resulting in the reality that all buildings tend to have equal prominence.
According to Rapoport, modern man has lost the mythological and cosmological
orientation which was so important to primitive man, or has substituted new
mythologies in place of the old.
Crowe (2000) had a similar view when he noted that the symbolic values of the built
environment are being lost today and that is why man was born in an hospital, lived
in a building that might as well look as an hospital judging from its outlook and died in
an hospital.
In this concluding chapter, Rapoport again demonstrated his balanced sense of
judgment when he maintained that both primitive and modern times have myths
that may be different but are commonly motivated by being primarily socio-cultural
however still claiming that the neglect of traditional cultural patterns may have
serious results.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


On chapter 6, A look at the present Rapoport ponders if house forms
today still reflect those old concerns which he has been exploring
throughout the book. He concludes that they do, by providing examples
based on both the developing countries and the American house.
His conclusion, that the house form is a matter of choice and that todays
problem is one of excessive choice (which still reaffirms that choice is the
main issue) clearly sets his work on the opposite side of materialist,
Marxist-oriented approaches to the origin of house form.
This book should always be read keeping its historic context in mind.
The book, indeed is right on the edge between old orientalizing
perspectives on folk architecture typical of works like Rudofskis
Architecture without Architects, and more rigorous and broader
approaches such as Paul Olivers edited Encyclopedia of Vernacular
Architecture of the World.
Because of its being historically in the middle. Rapoports book brings up
significant points that have become themes in the recent discussions on
the topic, but still cedes frequently to the Orientalizing temptation.
Two of the most salient orientalizing flaws of the book are, first the idea
that folk architecture is just a step in an unavoidable evolution towards
high style architecture, and second that folk architecture does not change.
His proposal that folk architecture is just a point in a process of
differentiation that changes from primitive to vernacular and then to
industrial vernacular and modern invites a worrying alternative reading
that we all must aspire to be modern.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


On the other hand, calling some indigenous cultures as stone age and
very primitive only reflects a bias that is today actively questioned. The
main failure behind that bias is assuming that whatever looks as
primitive today has always been primitive. Beyond question, back-and
forth developments have also been part of history of house form.
As a matter of fact, stone age-looking houses are being built today by
sophisticated urban dwellers, as temporary structures in times of
economic or natural calamities or wars.
Despite its shortcomings, Rapoports book remains convincing in its
argument pattern, detailed in its presentation, and unparalleled in its
academic ingenuity.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


BOOK CONTENT:
The form that housing takes is
related to the culture in which
that housing is built.
We focus on the monumental
while much of the built
environment is housing, and
most of this is done without the
benefit of architects.
A. Primitive housing produced by
societies defined as primitive.

B. Vernacular housing
involvement of tradesmen.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


B. VERNACULAR HOUSING:

A traditional Batak house, Sumatra,


Indonesia

The owner is a participant.

Lack of theoretical or aesthetic


pretensions.

Working with site and climate.


Respect for other people and
their environment.
Variations within an idiom.

Limited range of expression but


open-ended within that.

A culturally accepted model.

Few building types.

A traditional Batak house, Africa

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


TRADITION DISAPPEARS:
Complexity more building types
Loss of shared values
Originality a premium is placed on being original

PRODUCTION OF BUILT FORM CHANGES:


Primitive very few building types, model with few variations, built by all
Preindustrial vernacular greater number of building types, more
individual variation, built by tradesmen
High-style/modern many specialized building types, each an original
creation, designed and built by teams of specialists.

Primitive

Preindustrial vernacular

High-style/modern

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


DIFFERENTIATION OF SPACE:
Jung the lack of sharp
boundaries between man
and animals in the
primitive world.
Kabylie man and animal
in same room.
Switzerland under same
roof but separate spaces.
French farmhouse
separated but close
Similarly In urban space
living/working/workshop
spaces.
Then widely separated.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


ALTERNATING THEORIES OF HOUSE FORM.
He termed modifying factors to specify non-architecture aspects that
determine the architectural form and functions.
Two parts that he discussed:
1. Modifying Factors of House Form (factors that directly affect form)
2. Socio-cultural factors and house form (factors that indirectly affect form. It
affect socio-cultural aspects first and later architecture)
3. MODIFYING FACTORS OF HOUSE FORM :
PHYSICAL
A. Climate
B. Materials construction and technology
C. Site
SOCIAL
D. Defense
E. Economics
F.

Religion

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


PHYSICAL
A. CLIMATE

CLIMATIC DETERMINISM
We build houses to keep in a
consistent climate, and to keep out
predators. We grow, gather and
eat food to keep our metabolism
on an even keel. (p19)
. The courtyard house is a
southern form while the hearth
belongs to the north

The courtyard house

. But courtyard housing is found


in the temperate climate of
Beijing as well as the desert
climate of north Africa.
. Many different forms of housing
within limited number of climatic
zones.
. Changing form based on
economic activity the Hidastsa
in the Missouri valley (p20)

Hearth house

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


PHYSICAL
A. CLIMATE
. Ceremonial & religious beliefs, prestige and status will often override
climatic requirements
. Iquitos (p21) solid walls instead of open (for ventilation) because of
status and privacy.
. Japan (p22) traditional house varies little from Hokkaido in the north to
Kyushu in the south.
. South Seas (p22) European houses are seen as a mark of power and good
fortune and so are used despite their inappropriateness for the climate.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


PHYSICAL
B. MATERIALS CONSTRUCTION AND
TECHNOLOGY:
For thousands of years wood and stone
have determined the character of
buildings. The theory that forms
develop as man learns to master more
complex building techniques. However
even within one culture housing may be
primitive while ceremonial buildings are
elaborate with sophisticated roof
structures.
Sometimes technology may be available
but not used. the Egyptians knew the
vault [but] they rarely used it, and then
only where it could not be seen, since it
was at odds with their image or idea of
the building. (p24-5)
Sometimes social values take precedence
over technological advances. Piped
water vs well water.(P25)
Of course wood and stone can be used to
create may different kinds of structures,
the form of which will be determined
more by the culture than the material.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


PHYSICAL
C. SITE
Site is often considered aftereconomic
importanceof crops cultivation or the
availability of living sources (i.e. water,
food, cattle food);
The theory that topography can be a form
determinant. Eg :The hill towns of Italy.
Feng shui considers many aspects of
geography in determining the orientation
and shape of a building. However this has
a cosmological basis. Siting can take on
mystical importance which can lead to
persistence of sites because of their
traditional nature.
The choice of a good site will depend on a
cultural definition.
In typical of Moslem cities the location of
nobler craft are immediately around the
mosque and baser;community clustering.
Abstract image of world on earth.
InVastushastra, tripartite vertical division.
Sometimes the form will not change even
though the topography has the Latin
American courtyard house.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


SOCIAL
D. DEFENSE
Concept of defense in traditional
society, is formulated in
consideration of society as a
survival unit, with their survival
features.
I.

To protect food storage:

. The Sundanese gather granaries


in higher places in groups each
belonging to each house, so that
in case of fire in the village, it
wont disturb the food storage.
. Balinese put Granaries along the
villages boulevard, raised with
gathering spaces below where
youths usually would gather for
chatting and playing game,
while guarding the granary
above.

Granaries in Sudan (Africa)

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


SOCIAL
D. DEFENSE
II.

Against enemy or animals:

. The pile dwelling in most of


Southeast Asian house has an
obvious defensive component
against people, insects, animals
and snakes.
. Lock and door designs are often
equipped with hot water or oil
shower to hold enemies to
enter the building.

Aerial View of Blue Houses for the


Bhrahman, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


SOCIAL
D. DEFENSE
III. Spiritual defense:
. Hierarchical spatial zoning in
Mandala, where putting center
as the sacred points, flanked by
layers of concentric zones which
is gradually profane as it recede
away the center.
. In, Java and Angkor the spiritual
defense is actualized by
mounting the building to
resemble meru, as power
preservation, while in India is
actualized by void.
. Mayamata and Arthasastra
prescribe defense needs in more
a systematic plot of urban
configuration, that aim of
controlling the development so
as to keep the sustainability of
the whole system.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


SOCIAL
D. DEFENSE
This has been cited to account for tight urban patterns more than to explain the
form of dwellings themselves.
The compact towns in the Greek islands have been attributed to the needs of
defense, lack of money (so that the houses themselves had to form the city
wall), lack of arable land and the need to conserve it, and the need for shading
for climatic reasons. All of these undoubtedly played a part, which means that
no single cause could be possible.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


SOCIAL
D. ECONOMICS
Scarcity of resources as a determining factor in house form. However,
even under conditions of scarcity there are examples of herders living
among agricultural people and continuing to refuse to accept that way
of life. Some will build beyond their means. (34).
Even where collaboration is used it is often not used for strictly
economic reasons but socio-cultural ones.
There is an economic need to store, but even this will be done
differently according to a number of variables. (p36)

Even mobility, strongly motivated by economic conditions (scarcity of


resources), does not result in similarity of house form.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


SOCIAL
D. ECONOMICS
In sedentary agriculture villages, granary still play central role in
conserving economical assets, but well-supported by designed features
such as water reservoir, water management systems, and property
managements that is conducted by chieftains of the villages.
Southeast Asian vernacular villages acknowledge concept of weekly
markets concept. Therefore in one day every week, people of five
villages could gather in one village for shopping.
Kautilya in Arthashastra plan forts, treasuries, officials governments
and populations in arranging the spatial distribution of city.
Hierarchical and systematic zoning for heterogeneous classes of
society based on wealth which coincided with castes is well-prescribed
in Mayamata as geometric, concentric, and hierarchical scheme in: Sri
Ranggam, Kanchipuram, City of Angkor, and City of Majapahit.
Another way to value economy is according to Rapaport is lifestyle. In
Annam, Vietnam, peasant build house as soon as having money

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


SOCIAL
E. RELIGION
C Kluckhohn infere religion as set of believes, from which socially rules
and order, the profane and the sacred was produced.
Religion affects the form, plan, spatial arrangements, and orientation of
the house. Religion also defines if one should need their own shelters.
In Southeast Asia, house is not only a place for habitation, but place of
origin of the kin groups ancestral house. Sometime it is left inhibited,
while the real resident leaves somewhere nearby or adjacent to it.
Therefore the house it self appear more like a temple and is considered
sacred (1990, p.43).
Mostly the ancestors house is still occasionally visited for conducting
pooja (praying).
The arrangement of house plan in Minangkabau, West Sumatra follows
rites of the passages of family, from baby to old times.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


SOCIAL
E. RELIGION
Some have taken the view that
physical determinants are not
nearly as important as symbolic
and religious determinants. the
sacredness of the house.
The sacredness of the threshold
and portal, and hence the
separation of the sacred and
profane realms, can be achieved
through the use of numerous and
varied forms. Is a stranger
allowed in the house? Some
places yes, others no.
Shape of the house will vary
according to understanding of the
cosmos. North-south orientation,
circular? (p41)

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


SOCIAL
PHYSICAL DETERMINISM
The physical environment
provides possibilities, not
imperatives.
Mumford suggests that man
was a symbol-making animal
before he was a tool-making
animal. (42).
More than the physical
environment, it is our
symbols and rituals that give
form to that environment.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


2. SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS
Meaning in house form
The socio-cultural forces refer to a fact that societies share certain
generally accepted goals and life values. In accordance, Rapoport
mentioned three types of meaning :
A. High level meanings- which are themes like cosmologies, cultural
schemata, world views, reflections of philosophical systems, the kind
of stuff we find in traditional architecture -both vernacular and the
sacred high style these are the symbols usually discussed;
B. Middle level meanings concerned with things like identity, power,
status, wealth, etc., that we communicate; and
C. Low level - everyday and instrumental meanings; these tell you where
to walk in, where to sit down, etc.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


2. SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS
The house is an institution, not just a structure.
In addition to physical influences on built form (which are considered to
be more secondary or modifying), there is a whole range of sociocultural factors primary forces a vision of the ideal life (p47).
A. Religion
B. Family Structure
C. Criticality
. Culture- the total equipment of ideas and institutions and
conventionalized activities of a people
. Ethos the organized conception of the Ought.
. World View the way people characteristically look out upon the world.
. National Character the personality type of a people, the kind of human
being which, generally occurs in this society (p48)

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


2. SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS
A. RELIGION
. The image of the cosmos in built
form.
. The Dogon (p50) the whole
landscape reflects the cosmic
order. Villages are laid out in
the way parts of the body lie
with respect to each other.
Balinese housing compounds
have similar features.
. Solskifts in the Baltic (p51)
reproduce the daily path of the
sun in the layout of their
villages.
. Feng Shui as shown in the
previous slide.
. Symbolic space inside the house

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


2. SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS
B. FAMILY STRUCTURE:
. Monogamy husband still
separated from wife and
children
. Polygamy where the man has
no real house and visits his
wives, each of whom has her
own house.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


2. SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS
B. FAMILY STRUCTURE:

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


2. SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS
C. CRITICALITY
There are many factors influencing the form of the house.
The more forceful the physical constraints, and the more limited the
technology and command of means, the less are nonmaterial aspects
able to act.
But they never cease to operate.

There is a scale or set of scales that we could use here.

A climatic scale ranging from very severe to very gentle, an economic


scale from bare subsistence to affluence, a technological scale from
the barest to the most sophisticated, materials from a single local
material to unlimited choice. Even where the constraints are the most
severe, cultural factors are still operating.
The degree of freedom in choice can be understood through the
concept of criticality.
FACTORS OF CRITICALITY AND CHOICES
The greater the number of possibilities, the greater the choice,
depending on the value system.
As the criticality increases along the different scales-climatic,
economic, technological consideration, the fewer choice to be taken.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


BASIC NEEDS
The concept of basic needs is brought into question since most basic
needs involve value judgments and therefore choice. Those choices
are based on peoples attitudes towards their environment.
There are a number of factors that affect built form:
A. Personal or Collective Some basic needs
B. Family
C. Position of women
D. Privacy
E. Social intercourse

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


BASIC NEEDS

A. SOME BASIC NEEDS


. Look at breathing as a basic need.
This will have an effect on house
form. The need for fresh air or the
acceptance of smells (such as
cooking) will alter house form. The
Eskimo accepts very high smell
concentrations, and the smell of the
toilet is accepted in the traditional
Japanese house. In some cultures
smoke is sacred and therefore
encouraged in the house.
. Even the concept of comfort seems
highly variable.
. The basic need of eating will vary in
its rituals from culture to culture and
necessarily affect house form.
. Sitting (a basic need?) will affect
house form too depending on how one
sits. On the floor, on a chair, a mat?
If you sit on a chair, this will affect
where and how you place openings.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


BASIC NEEDS
B. FAMILY
. Family structure will have a
profound affect on house form.
. Extended family/nuclear family.
. The choice of communal living
(eg the Iroquois longhouse) or
separate living (the Western
mingles apt).
. Polygamy or monogamy,will
affect form.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


BASIC NEEDS
C. POSITION OF WOMEN
. Where women are cloistered in the house, the need for privacy will
increase, thus changing the house form.
. In Egypt men and women are always separated, rich people having
separate rooms and poor ones using different corners of their house.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


BASIC NEEDS
D. PRIVACY
. Privacy is partly affected by the
position of women.
. In some cultures privacy is
achieved through social
convention.
. The place of the individual in
society may decide whether a
communal house is left open and
unsubdivided or is divided.
. This relates to the separation of
domains.
. In India, Iran and Latin
American buildings traditionally
face inwards.
. In Anglo-American houses they
face outwards.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


BASIC NEEDS
D. PRIVACY
. Privacy (p66) inward facing
and little concern for what
happens on the street (is this an
example of the commons?).
. In traditional settlements,
however, the narrow, shady
streets become full of life as
they serve some social
functions.
. Streets in the Punjab, for
example, link the three
elements of the village house,
temple, and bazaar.
. Widenings in the streets
provide room for a small tree or
a well, around which a
storyteller or small market will
set up shop and help the street
serve a social function.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


BASIC NEEDS
D. PRIVACY
. The transition between street and private domain of the house becomes
very important in this case.
. Western architects often think of privacy as a basic need, but it is a
complex and varied phenomenon that defies easy solutions.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


BASIC NEEDS
E. SOCIAL INTERCOURSE
. The concern is where to meet whether in the house, the cafe, the
bath, the street, the well. All of these will affect the form of the
house.
. In many cultures meeting in the house is not done. Socializing takes
place elsewhere.
. This means that the house cannot be seen in isolation from the
settlement. Because the living pattern always extends beyond the
house to some degree, the form of the house is affected by the extent
to which one lives in it and the range of activities that take place in it.
. House, settlements and landscapes are products of the same culture
system and world view, and are therefore parts of a single system.
. The house can not be seen in isolation from the settlement, but must
be viewed as part of a total social and spatial system

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


RELATION OF HOUSE AND SETTLEMENT
Dispersed and concentrated settlements.
Two traditions of concentrated settlements:
The whole settlement has been considered as the
setting for life. The dwelling is a more private
enclosed part of that. E.g. the Latin,
Mediterranean village, vernacular
The dwelling is the total setting for life and the
settlement is the connective tissue and secondary
in nature. E.g. the Anglo-American city, high style
This distinction between types may be due
partly to written or unwritten laws which limit the
behavior patterns in the different domains
public or private by prohibiting some and
allowing others. This is an expression of world
view and other attitudes, and is one way in which
a culture is linked to the way people use space.
In the same way the distinction may be due partly
to the effect of religion on social attitudes and
family, and hence on the separation of domains.
(p70)
How is the street viewed in different cultures?
(Japan, p73)

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


FACTORS OF THE SITES AND CHOICE
The initial choice of a site for settlements will be based on many factors. Among
them are the physical factors access to food or water, exposure to wind, defensive
potential, land for agriculture, transportation potential, trade potential. Some of
these are social factors which may also include family or clan structure and
grouping.
There are some classifications of attitudes that has been historically performing
various interrelation between site and people, individually and collectively:

A. Religious and cosmological- the environment is regarded as dominant and man is


less than nature
B. Symbiotic here man and nature are in a state of balance, and man regards
himself as a steward and custodian of nature
C. Exploitative here man is regarded the completer and modifier of nature, then
creator and finally destroyer of the environment.
. In the first two there is a personal relationship established an I-Thou relationship.
Nature is to be worked with. In the third there is an I-It relationship where nature is
worked on.
. In the first two man is in nature. There is no difference between the two. The
whole landscape is sacred as is the house in it.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


CONSTANCY AND CHANGES
If we place too much importance on culturally linked aspects of form, form
would become meaningless outside the culture. Yet we know this is not true.
Some things will change with a change in culture, some things will remain
constant. In physiology man has changed little. Biological responses to the
environment are essentially unchanged. Are perception and behavior
culturally linked or inborn (physiological) and unchanging? Both?
The need for sensory stimulation and satisfaction visual and social
complexity in the environment seems constant for both man and animals
(79)
The need for security may be constant but how that is expressed may vary
greatly. (This notion takes on greater importance when we look at Defensible
Space)
Symbols vary but the need for communication is constant.
The territorial instinct the need for identity and place is constant. How we
define territory and the ideal environment will vary. What elements are
changeable and which are constant will have a profound effect on the form of
both the dwelling and the city.

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


Distinctions are made between different types of space: physical, economic,
social, etc.
Architects make a distinction between technological space (bathrooms, services
spaces) and symbolic spaces (living areas). The former will change according to
changes in equipment. The latter will tend to remain more constant (is this really
true? Perhaps, but only in the sense that it is space defined by furnishings which
in themselves will change form culture to culture rather than equipment
specifications).
It is through the latter spaces that we define ethnic domains. So, for example,
the sanctity of the threshold remains constant from culture to culture but how that
is identified and defined will vary considerably. (FIG 3.15, p.80)

AMOS RAPOPORT- HOUSE,FORM AND CULTURE


FACTORS OF CONSTANCY AND CHANGES
It refer to the fact that along time architecture in any scale would
undergo changes, transformation and alteration.
It also refer to habit that in general architect always assume the
architecture would not change.
How much do architects could respond on the consideration of constancy
and changes?
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