Construction Of Reality: Rethinking Architectural Boundaries

Mimari Sınırları Yeniden Düşünmek


  • Hilal Iavarone
  • Emel Birer



Architectural boundary, studio, lived space, alternative space


This research paper juxtaposes the architectural and spatial meanings of the concept of “boundary” with design studio research. Starting from the dialectical structure of the concept of boundary, the article examines the boundaries, which are seen as an element that supports creative action in the design studio. In the article, it is suggested to rethink the concepts of “space” and “ boundary”, basing the theoretical approach on the hypothesis that “reality is established through interaction”.

The concept of boundary refers to dynamic cross-sections that create relations and interaction in terms of both separating the whole into two different areas and carrying the meaning of the place where the two sides meet each other. The concept of boundary is often a restrictive element in everyday language; while it is perceived as a kind of obstacle, on the other hand, coexistence takes place; It can be seen as a “meeting point”. This semantic duality enables boundaries to be conceptualized as both an architectural (physical) and spatial (experiential) element.

After considering the concept of boundary as a founding concept, this research turns to the wide range of “space” concepts in the literature. Within the scope of the research, the literature review deals with the concept of “living space” in the context of phenomenological space understandings and mainly approaches to the perception of spatial reality. The question of perception of space is examined by considering Lettvin’s “frog” metaphor and Lefebvre’s conception of space together. This examination forms the intellectual basis of the field study. The research question of this study is why students use a space with blurred and undefined boundaries as a design studio instead of the designed studio with a defined space with boundaries. The research is based on the hypothesis that “the reality builds the studio”, based on the lack of clear boundaries of the alternative studio space that students choose voluntarily.

With the thought that the concepts of “space” and “ boundary” will only gain meaning in line with the spatial reality perception of the users, the research focuses on an alternative studio space preferred by the users. The study explores this proposition by relating it to the tendency of Faculty of Architecture students to use an undefined space as a studio environment. In this context, a total of 3 research stages, the first two of which are preliminary research, have been designed: (I) Determining the places where the research will be carried out by planning reading (II) Determining the studio and non-studio use of the students with the observation method (III) Semi-structured interviews with the students and analyzing the findings.

Two venues were chosen for the research: While the “Designed Studio Space” is a place for formal education, defined for the students of the Faculty of Architecture, with definite boundaries; Undefined “Alternative Studio Space” is a borderless, undefined common use area located between the busiest circulation axes of the campus. This space is, in a sense, a design studio established by the students themselves; It is a field where informal education takes place. For this reason, this place has been given the definition of “Studio Under Stairs” due to its physical and semantic features. It has been observed that the students of the Faculty of Architecture spend most of their time on campus, including their studio hours, in this place.

When the findings of the structured interviews designed at the end of the research on the Alternative Studio are evaluated, it is seen that the answers related to the perceived and living space are more prominent. This is proof that the alternative studio space is in a structure that allows interaction. The findings of this study show that creating an interactive space defines a liberating studio. These findings regarding the physical and experiential description of the studio also give clues about the alternative space production of architectural design education. In that case, the studio space tends to create free environments for itself when the physical elements are perceived, synthesized with the past information in daily life and re-interpreted depending on the user’s sense.