Sociology is the understanding of the human society, which this essay is forcing more towards the sociology among family members. Moving on into studies to explore the various solutions on how things around the context of a family can feed off each other. Things like spatial qualities that will affect the family’s social interaction. Exploring into different avenues in the design contexts like the balances between the private and public spaces within a home to solve the issue of bonding and interaction. An in-dept analysis of a few different case studies, local and international will to help understand and broaden the perspective of the various practical techniques on how this few designers explore the spatial quality to prove the point that spatiality do plays a part in the social interaction among family members. Therefore the main objective is to express the point that sociology is the aim and the dream of reviving once more the closeness, warmness and most harmonious type of socialization bond between family members.
The main definition of sociology is a series of development; structure and a functioning of understanding the human society. Therefore from the understanding of the word, looking into the various possibility of the definition, expanding into sub issues that will lead back to sociology. One of them is social problem, problems that occur in society around us no matter being in a big or small society. The reason for this problem to occur is due to the fact that each individual member of a society in this case focusing more into the family circle group, that lives close enough together will have conflicts. It is virtually impossible to avoid having conflicts among close family member who are staying together in the same house. They do not always get along seamlessly as each individual has their own unique character. From this sector it is important to acknowledge that social problems will affect the social interaction within the family society. Hence social interaction is another possibility section that will lead back to sociology. The in-depth studies of the importance of social interaction will be illustrated in the next part of this essay. But in the mean time from these two various possible issues in sociology, conclusion can be made that sociology is the aim and the dream of reviving once more the closeness, warmness and most harmonious type of socialization bond between family members. From this conclusion further studies will be made to explore the various solution on how other things around the context of a family can feed off each other. Things like spatial qualities that will affect the family’s social interaction. Exploring into different avenues in the design contexts like the balances between the private and public spaces within a home to solve the issue of bonding and interaction. Moving on further into the essay studies will be made on a few different case studies, local and international. These case studies will to help understand and broaden the perspective of the various practical techniques on how this few designers explore the spatial quality to prove the point that spatiality do plays a part in the social interaction among family members. Allowing the family to socialize without being intermitted. Theories will be presented to support the study of how spatiality is blend with sociology. Therefore this essay will elaborated the in-depth understanding of a few key points that will help achieve the main objective for a closeness, warmness and harmonious family lifestyle in a home.
The term social interaction refers to particular forms of externalities, in which the actions of the family members affect an individual’s preferences. Therefore, the observation of large differences in outcomes is the balance between the interpersonal dynamics and the home environment. It is critical to organize the effectiveness of interaction that happens among the family member. From this many of social interactions exhibit strategic complementarities, which occur when the marginal utility to one person of undertaking an action is increasing with the average amount of the action taken by one family member. Consequently, a change in fundamentals has a direct effect on behavior and an indirect effect of the same sign. The direct effect on behavior will change toward the direct change in fundamentals. Although the family is made up of a group of very like-mindful people, there are still certain ways to control the functionality of the family and the behaviors within them, which make individual family distinguishable from others. In the case the head of the family will of course be the father following with the mother second, as a partner they are to set a good example in their sociality among each other so that the children’s at home will also be influence by their action and behavior, sometime unknowingly. Therefore, the father as the head of the family is the one who keeps order by setting rules and enforcing on them. Hence if a family does not have the sociality quality in their values it will have a chain reaction in their behavior, leading the family to face more sociology problems causing their behavior to influence other society out there being in their working environment or their friends in schools. Social interaction can also seen in the way of which it is an action that will lead up to a reaction. It is not only a one-way traffic but it takes two parties to work holistically together to achieve the successful outcome. There are sustain hierarchy within the family society and each family member has his or her societal roles to play. There is some ideal issue that the family should study or know. They should distinguish between the understanding of a correlation of the individual characteristics within the family society, to the influences of the society that occur outside the boundaries of the home allow the family to recognize the key traits that from their own unique family society. Therefore, ” Bott (1957: 99) argues that the immediate social environment of urban families are best considered, ‘not as the local area in which they live, but rather as the network of actual social relational maintain, regardless of whether these are confined to the local area or run beyond its boundaries.” From this argument maintaining an active social interaction within the family help balance a healthy social relationship among individual family members. Hence is will also decrease the tension in the interaction of matters in their socialization bring together a number of elements such as solidarity, commitment, mutuality and trust. By having this healthy social relationship, no boundaries will be generated, allowing them to have the two-way traffic of interaction. Another point that will help maintain this healthy social relationship is the physical spatial environment.
Form the research that was made, physical spatial environment do play a part in determining the interaction with social space that will affect the human’s social behaviors and the ability of a social individual to influence others. These spatial elements such as the buffer zones between the private and general space, surveillance within the family and shares the common pathways that affect the social interaction in the house. These buffer zones are flexible to change over the physical function such, as it can be a formal social interaction area or an informal one. On the other hand segregation of spaces can also be a part of a family that from this separation they will function better as a whole. There are some activities that individuals will be far more comfortable performing them in their own space. As Schelling  demonstrated that when an individual can chose the location and the presence of these interactions. Results in segregation across spaces may occur, even in situation where the typical individual would be content to live in integrated space, which in this solution are their own individual rooms. Therefore, to my opinion a statement can be made that spatial quality does influence the social behaviors unknowingly.
Behavior comes to mind as a recurrent theme in our interests, overlapping concerns such as the architecture expression and their complexity of the relationship that capital and generational change. Hence, it is an attempt to understand the patterns and influence of the transformation of behavior over time. Behavior could also be the central to a hypothesis, which is the understanding of the correlations between the human life, nature and the built environment. Each individual building can be viewed as a sentient creature, endowed with their own unique intelligence and a defining set of living characteristics. Analyzing the input from research, physical design does influence social interaction in a static way by some of these factors.
Firstly, is the informal social factor, factor that focus on the social dynamic that is the relationship between individuals and individual in groups. Secondly, is the formal social factor, which is the management of communal spaces that allows interaction to occur. Thirdly, the personal factors that is the pro-community and the pro-socializing attitude with similar values and norms. Lastly, the physical design factors, which is the density of proximity. The division of spaces that has a buffering zone between the private and general spaces, the shared pathways is one for the factor that affects social interaction among family members. Another factor is the communal spaces that have the quality and accessibility to allow family member to come together as one to have common activities together with out feeling intimidated. Therefore, how the family members perceive and understand the physical environment can determine the frequency and quality of their social interaction.
The psychosocial ‘buffer zone’ between individuals and the physical environment plays an important role in determining how the interaction unfolds. The social interaction and the layout of space reciprocally influence each other. The plan is the generator that has order and willfulness; it also holds itself the essence of sensation. The mass and surfaces are elements by which architecture manifests itself. Therefore, the mass and surfaces are determined by the plan. The plan is at its basis. As Le Courbusier quote “Without plan there can be neither grandeur of aim and expression, nor rhythm, nor mass, nor coherence.” Therefore the plan is calls for the most active imagination and the critical discipline too. What determines everything is the plan as the among of interaction the family will achieve or the social problems that the family will face. Therefore, to make a plan is to determine the main objective and fix ideas. Looking at the Schroeder house for inspiration, it is a house that perfectly demonstrates how spaces could help bring family member together to share and have their social interaction bond. It is a house, which have the plan-less idea that has been a very powerful idea in the development of architecture since modernism. The transformable and plan-less idea allows a logical way of working whereby the members are either all having their private spaces of they are all gathered in to one common space. The study of the plan informed us that is can be achieved by simply having partitions, that can be moved in a manner such that the spaces could only make sense when every family member is having the same kind of privacy level. From this way of planning it will increase the social interaction among member in the family, as they are unknowingly focus to work and interact in a common space.
The balance between the common spaces that is open incorporates the focus point of the main house. The expression of ‘openness’ and ‘closeness’ can also be achieved through the careful alignment of furniture with the help of openings and walls. Furniture acts as a jig, positioning the human body to react, while sharing the same space together. It supports and encourages social interaction by the arrangement in space to remove barriers between family members. It is also good to have the design element such as blurring the boundaries between the human life, nature and the built environment.
Looking all the back into history on the planning of the traditional kampong houses in Singapore, how they are layout as a community to maximum the social interaction among families living there. The kampong were layout in the way where they will have a common areas in which people gathered, mixed around and spend time with each other. Spaces flow into each other freely with few boundaries or obstructions. The kampong with no physical barriers allows a flexibility in accommodate two or more needs of extending when needed, which is not available in our modern housing estate today. Studying in-depth for the interior layout of a kampong enable us to see that the architecture plays with a lot of voids, opening and have an open plan with minimum partition.
This self-drawn diagram is my analysis of a kampong house. The house can be broken down into three sectors. First sector acts as a transition space between the open public and private sectors. It is also the sector where the family will entertain their guests. The second sector will be the private area where all the private family activities happen. The living area is a common open area where family members are able to see the movement of each other. Lastly will the kitchen, the reason of having a bridge that separate the living area and the kitchen is because the kitchen is often used by the woman’s community as a space where they can chat and socialize therefore the bridge is there to set the boundaries for the public. The kitchen is also a semi-private area because there is a second entrance from the back to access to the house. From this analysis, we can see that the layout of a typical kampong house has a clear hierarchy system that segregates the public zone and the private living area. We can adapt a few key points from this study, the hierarchy system and the open plan that they have.
Moving on to the study of our modern HDB flats. HDB was first development to replace the kampong living style in February 1960. The reason for doing so was Singapore was facing an acute housing shortage at that period of time. Therefore, the government decided to build HDB units for the low-income group of people. Through the years residences had to adapt to the emphasis of the housing program, the shifted from quantity of housing to quantity of life. Studying the typical interior layout of a modern HDB allows me to understand better why family now a day space lesser social interaction time with each other. The reason is that the spaces within a house layout is clearly defined by solid walls which break the visual connect that is an important part that allows social interaction to happen. The percentage of the common area in the house is always lower than the percentage compared to the individual private space. But however, common corridor does exist in some HDB units but the function of it seems to just be a connector to the private spaces rather then a space where family members interact. Is there a problem with the size of the corridors, giving the prescription as just a path for walkway and not a space to interact?
Comparing this two local case studies, the traditional kampong house to our modern HDB flats we can see that the quantity of living is different. As for the modern house, we have family members that are all separated from one another by walls, which discourage interaction and by not interacting family member will lose the healthy socialization values. Compared to the traditional kampong layout where they have an open living and common space where visualization are not broken among family members.
International Case Studies
The project for a brick country house done by Mies Van de Rohe in 1923 demonstrates the idea of using walls to divide the space but does not go as far as to divide them off into rooms. By doing this it suggests spatial divisions by setting up relationship with the site from within. On the other hand, his Barcelona Pavilion of 1929, uses walls as the element to set up views and suggest spaces but they are not dividing the space as the whole pavilion is open-air. Compared to the Schroder House that as built in 1924, by Gerrit Rietvield. Different method has been used to demonstrate the plan-less theory. In this case, all the main services are positioned on the perimeter of the house and next to them are retracted sliding partitions, which can be pulled out to divide the spaces into rooms. Such as the space acquires more possibilities, compared to when the screens are close, there is no one name to label the spaces. However, these walls provide only a certain amount of prescribed flexibility. If these walls are completely independent of the structure, the moveable walls will become screens, which is essentially furniture. Therefore, western architecture has various ways and method to tackle the issue of social interaction. The freedom within the layout of the interior allows ways to alter to one’s needs hence it is adaptable to the engender bonding between the occupants and the building through continuous physical involvement. By doing this the interaction level within the family can be adjustable to the function that is formed at anytime opening up the partition to allow each family member to remain the visual connect that will allow social interaction to happen. Not knowing focusing them to start a conversation as there is isn’t any physical wall.
Interestingly enough in Japan, the Japanese traditional house takes on an entirely different attitude to spatial division and living pattern. While planned as the same meaning as the Western architecture, walls do not. In a typical Japanese screened house, the rooms other than the service rooms have on one purpose. Within these the functions takes on the meaning of the activity that is performed and their functions can be changeable with the activities. Quoted from Nishihara explanation of the difference of the Western thinking compared to the Japanese thinking is “the Western thinks in terms of function and makes his rooms accordingly, whereas the Japanese simply set up zones.” In Japan, when it is time for dining, a portable table and food will be brought out; when it’s working time a writing desk will be taken out; and when it is time for bed, bedding that are typically stored in the cupboard will be unrolled and rolled back to be stored in the morning. Leaving the space to be purposeless and multi-purpose at once.
From these two case studies, we can see the how two different cultures approach the understanding of an open-less plan concept. Here is an illustration of the comparison diagram between the Japanese concept and the western concept.
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