Any contemporary discussion of Architecture must coalesce, not only the perceptual systems that produce buildings, but the human emotions connected to our body image and the buildings we know as home. The house can be said to be an extension of our bodies. Being vertical, the house rises upward like the human body from the cellar to the attic. The attic provides a roof that gives shelter from the rain, snow or sun. The cellar is said to contain our deepest fears. The concept of the house is considered to be much more than a building that can be described by its appearance or simply as a space that is-inhabited. All of the houses that we have lived in hold memories for us and bring forth images that shape themselves in a continuous life long process. Our memories of houses can provide us with the inner feelings of protection and intimacy that provide a sense of stability.2
The entrance of a house holds an important meaning since it is the boundary that separates our private life from our public life in the community. The front or facade of the house can be compared to the front of our bodies standing symmetrically facing the world. Windows can permit a view in, out or shut out the community. The backs of homes, not always symmetrical, exhibit the private life of people. Boundaries are usually defined in backyards in order to discourage interference from the outside. The interior of the house complements the exterior with a vertical directionality moving up and down by means of stairways. Stairs leading up may direct us to rooms that provide us with privacy or separateness, while concealed stairs leading down to the basement may exemplify the idea of a cave. Rooms within a house can either be those that are utilized for group activities or those that provide individuals with seclusion.3
In order to further develop the incorporation of awareness of body image in architectural design, research done in the area of
can be helpful.
studies the cultural influences of how we experience space. As people throughout the world have developed their cultures uniquely and distinctly from one another problems can and do arise when cultural groups attempt to communicate with one another. For the purposes of this paper human space perception is emphasized, while it needs to be remembered that we interact with all of our perceptual systems. Research shows that people oriental themselves in space according to the culture that they were reared in. Each of us sense other people as close or distant. Four distance zones affect how we react: intimate distance, personal distance, social distance and public distance. These distance zones greatly affect how people use their senses to distinguish between the relationships of others, their feelings and what activity they are involved in. What may be considered intimate in one culture might be public or personal in another culture. Without going into detail describing the distance zones, the awareness of these territorial spaces is particularly valuable when designing urban environments. Crowding human beings into vertical buildings without considering the negative effects of crowding upon the human needs within different relationships is harmful. The result becomes evident when we observe the stress found in many urban dwellers. Contemporary Americans have need for urban environments that provide a variety of spatial experiences.