Continuity and change in traditional domestic architecture of Palestine : transformation of traditional concepts of house design in Nablus
This study investigates the transformation of house design within the specific cultural setting of Palestine and examines the extent of the contribution made by users and practising architects to that transformation. The research links this with changes which have occurred in the socio-cultural context of Palestine during the twentieth century and which resulted in changes in users' lifestyle. It questions whether alterations in Palestinian house design are related only to the users' new requirements, attitudes, and aspirations, or to changes precipitated by the architect and not the user, or are related to both the user and the architect. A proposed research model comprises the three main elements of the study, i.e. the house, the user, and the architect. The research methodology adopted is based on comparisons between three generic house types identified by the study: type A - the traditional courtyard house evolved in Palestine pre-1918; type B - the colonial central-hall house developed during the period of British mandate in Palestine; and type C - the modern house of Palestine which started to appear during the fifties concomitant with the start of the professional architect's practice. Empirical investigation based on questionnaire survey was carried out through two case studies: of the house user, and of the architect. Both case studies were conducted in Nablus. Several factors were under investigation: house characteristics and condition; user's attitudes and preferences; the architect's background (education, experience, and practice); the architect's attitudes towards new and traditional architecture; and his/her extent of involvement in the design and construction of private houses in Palestine. The SPSS PC+ (Statistical Package for Social Science, Windows Base) was used for processing and analysing the main body of the research data. Several nonparametric statistical tests for k samples were conducted: the Kruskal-Wallis and the Median tests, the Chi-square test, and the Spearman's and Kendall's rank correlation tests.