Relations in architectural space : designs and effects in space of the traditional Thai houses and temples
What makes the space in a piece of architecture intelligible for us is the fundamental question of this thesis. Architects and users of buildings are the sources and the receptors of this intelligibility and therefore are the two points of view used in the research. There are many discussions and theories that focus on either the architects' or the users' concepts of architectural space but few focus on both and an even smaller proportion examine the relations between them. To this end, the thesis investigates the relation of intelligibility of space known by architects in the design process and the one that exists in the architectural reality known by the users of the buildings. This thesis sees this relation as the connection between the abstraction and reality of architecture. It is proposed that this connection in space consists of four dimensions: structural, experiential, functional and architectural element dimensions which form different relations in different pieces of architecture in different socio-cultural contexts. In this way, the research relates abstract properties with their reality in built forms through on-site observation and participation in activities inside the selected buildings in Thailand. The analysis shows that some relations appear to be regularities in most architecture whilst others are specific to the twelve selected Thai houses and temples. These relations are realised in architectural space by both architects and users of the buildings therefore they are designs and effects which can be configured via three levels in a relation; that is, 1) inside each dimension, 2) between dimensions and 3) among relations of all dimensions. it is in the third level that a relation represents a full description of the architectural reality in a space in the form of a relational syntax in which the design and effect of a space are simultaneously comprehended. Consequently, relational syntaxes become the instruments that can be seen and used as design strategies in the process of designing or analysing buildings. Through the analytical and descriptive characters of relational syntax, a deep understanding of architectural space is reached between the architects and the users; that is, the design is seen as the effects of the actual uses in buildings and vice versa.