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BEHIND THE WATER TANK, UNDER THE TREE EXPLORING SPATIAL PREFERENCES OF CHILDREN IN SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT AMAN AMIN GUIDED BY GAURI BHARAT


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BEHIND THE WATER TANK, UNDER THE TREE EXPLORING SPATIAL PREFERENCES OF CHILDREN IN SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT

AMAN AMIN GUIDED BY GAURI BHARAT


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As a child, I have had spaces or spots which have made me feel more comfortable than the other spaces. I used to eat under a small piano table that sat next to a corner while everyone would be eating on the dining table. My parents converted the space under the staircase into a small cupboard to store toys and games for my brother and me, which we eventually started living in, spending hours inside the cupboard. I would sit next to the railing in the balcony looking down at the dinning room, peeping onto the guests before actually going and meeting them. Each child tries to find that one spot in their environment that makes them feel like their own. Be it homes, schools or streets, children make sure they systematically choose the space they occupy. This understanding in children to not only pick a favorite spot but to develop a sense of belonging along with the awareness of ones being has been the driving force behind this research. The journey of this study attempts to emphasize the place children hold in the built environment and the elements of the built form towards which children tend to have a sense of belonging. At home along the edge of the stairs or behind the water tank of the large open ground of the school or under the tree in a park... children choose their spaces. The study builds up to inform role of architects and the need to intervene into the spaces that children perceive through their eyes.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


The circle of Architecture at CEPT is completed when one ends their research thesis and find themselves wondering about all the people who made it possible. I would like to take this opportunity to not just thank the people who made this research possible but without whom the last six years would not have been so meaningful. Gauri Ma’am, thank you for being the most patient guide and showing me the right direction even after every time I would get lost in my own thoughts. Your guidance and insights made the journey of this research much more richer. Children of all the schools documented, thank you for being patient and letting me into your bubbles. What I have learnt from you is immeasurable. Thank you! Kavin, Aishani, Motilal, Lala, Hemasa, Nanu & Nani, thank you for sharing your personal memories as a child. The process of Spaces in Memory was enriched by your descriptive experiences. Dada & Mimi, thank you for being the most inspirational set of grandparents. Muma & Papa, I could not have asked for better friends than you two. Aashu, thank you so much for every time I made you run around for my work and which you would do with all your heart. Astro, thank you.. for not eating my thesis. Kishan, thank you for not only being enthusiastic for every tiny idea I would ever come up with, but also making sure you would be a part of it. Vedanti, for believing in me & bearing me through thick and thins, thank you so much! Krishna, thank you for being the person on whom I can always fall onto. Prashik, for being the definition of a great friend. Dhwani, thank you for making sure I do what I do. Manuni, for the aura of unconditional love and energy you carry around, thank you! Monik, thank you for believing & supporting me in the tiniest of the things. Nishita, thank you for your frequent bits & pieces of imagination! Sagar, for being a box of excitement and ball of optimism, thank you! Malay, thank you for being patient and bringing in a sense of clarity whenever needed and of course for the wonderful graphics. Kajol, for creating the boring drawings I needed, but with a smile, thank you! To all professors at School of Architecture, thank for enriching our lives! To the batch of 2011, each of you have unconditionally contributed in making the last six year the most memorable years of my life. Thank you!

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CONTENTS


Approval Declaration

PART 1

INTRODUCTION

PART 2

EXPLORING SPATIAL PREFERENCES OF CHILDREN

PART 3

SPACE, SOCIABILITY & CHILD NEEDS

Acknowledgment

5 7 9 10

Introduction Environment Child School

14 18 24 38

Exploring Spatial Preferences Application on School Environments Social Structure of a child’s Built Environment

48 54 78

Space, Sociability & Child Need Through the Lens of Parameters Conclusion

80 82 88

Appendix Bibliography

94 102

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INTRODUCTION


ABSTRACT

The act of creation of a physical environment in which people live, gives existence to Architecture. Its purpose is to not only create spaces where humans feel more alive and fulfilled but also let human kind flourish. In Vitruvius’ words, architecture is the art that combines utilas (utility), firmitas (materiality), and venustas (delight). These architectural virtues have been in the past re-interpreted as utilas - human behavior that is imaginary, firmitas - technology that is symbolic and venustas - beauty that is real. Many forces influence architecture. But how often do architects pay serious attention to the needs of the users, to the behavioural, social and cultural aspects of design? Due to negligence towards these attributes, architecture today is becoming less and less user oriented. One of the key examples is that of the struggles faced by an elderly person to match up to what we call standardization in architecture. With respect to their naturally declining physiological abilities, our architecture seems somewhat inhumane. Can architecture influence the process of aging? Similarly, at the other end of the life-cycle, can architecture influence the development of a child? According to psychologists, childhood is the first stage of humans progress and it is at this stage when we receive our first impressions of wisdom. The human mind at this stage is the most alert and adaptive of the environments around and hence education is also received in this stage of the human mind. Child development is highly affected by the built environment that the children occupy. There are four major child-environment identities that affect the child development: physical child, social child, natural child and learning child. To attain a healthy development through the child’s environment, it is important that the architecture responds to all the four identities correspondingly. This in turn would lead to architecture being user responsive for the children’s development. In order to make this process of designing for children easier and more direct, there is a need for understanding what satisfies the needs of child development along with an understanding of what the children prefer in their built environment. These understandings can be looked for at various levels of child-environment relationships at different kinds of built environments. What if one starts looking at how children occupy an open to sky courtyard of a regular school? Or what is it that the courtyard offers to these children? Is it the openness? Or merely the fact that the teachers cannot see them here? The study means to pick up on details such as these and establish the occurrence of these relationships at various scales through the lens of child development. Through analysing these relationships, not only will architects be able to answer questions of what is better and what is not for children but also will be able to ensure a better future. 15


The research looks at architecture as a way of fulfilling the core responsibility of making the world a better place. As to that, focusing on making it better for children, the study looks at the nature of spaces that the children occupy in the built environment. Out of the various typologies that children spend time in, for the research, school environments will be explored by taking various existing case studies into account.

THE RESEARCH

Broadly, the study emphasizes at what is it that children prefer in their school environment, and what is it that constitutes these preferred spaces.

As clearer as it gets, it is in the best interest of the research that the children are not hindered by various worldly ideas. So as to limit the finding to the children’s pure interpretation of the space, this research will focus on the Concrete Operational stage of children, i.e. children between the age of 7 to 11 years. A child’s involvement with the built environment varies from place to place. Every child would appropriate different environments differently. For example, a child may be more exploratory in school environments compared to what he would be at home due to the dynamic setting of schools. In such a case, peers also play a important role. At home, a child feels safest and the most comfortable due to familiarity with spaces and presence of parents, siblings etc. Streets become a place for the child to overcome challenges of the outside. The child would be more conscious for as to his movement, reactions and interactions on the street than at home. In that case, schools become a perfect mix of a space which offers challenges as well gives a feeling of comfort through familiarity and regularity. Hence, the study focuses on why a child prefers a certain space over the other based on the design of the built school environments. The selection of the case studies will be limited to the city of Ahmedabad’s geographical bounds to avoid climatic variations and changes that would have been a result of reinforced civil law and order. The criteria of selection of schools will vary upon the social, economic and aesthetic aspects of the built form. As it will not be possible to understand each child’s perception and what affects that due to lack of understanding in the field of psychological analysis, the research will not take into account a child’s personal background study, focusing more on a generic outcome of the preferred spaces of the selected age group based on the architectural qualities of the built environment.

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SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS


AIM

OBJECTIVES

To identify and analyse what kind of spaces do children prefer in school environment in order to create guidelines of designing for children.

To identify spatial relations established in the school environment. To map children’s occupancy and activities in reference to their preferences of built environments. To identify patterns and to draw parallels based on child preference in different case studies. To derive a design guideline for creation of desirable school environment for children.

METHOD

The research takes learnings from the concepts of environmental psychology and child’s perception of space along with a briefly engaging into real life scenarios of adults describing their childhood memories in order to understand what goes behind a spatial preference in children. To achieve the aim of the study, the research takes into account cases of school environments and applies the prior learnings in order to get comparative resultants. Once the cases have been established, mapping through observation and with a lens of key concepts is carried out in all cases. With the division according to social groups, the key parameters are applied and parallels as to what each group tends towards are drawn. These parallels are then analysed to create a set of guidelines to be taken into account while designing for children.

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ENVIRONMENT


WHY?

“Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve” - Erich Fromm The world’s population today spends a majority of their lifetime inside and around numerous kinds of built environments. We live, work and grow within these environments created by ourselves. These built environment for human habitation should be extremely carefully and tactfully designed in order to suffice to the needs of the user group of the environment. This brings up a concern and a realisation to understand these human needs and to modify or create the built environment in a way to satisfy these needs. Most theories in the history stand to prove that the built environment affects the behavioural patterns of the humans but also that both of them are not exclusively interdependent. There would always be certain activities that are not influences by the built and vice versa but in most of the other scenarios, certain physical settings would encourage a certain kind of behaviour and that is where the role of the designer comes into the picture. The study of implications of humans on the environment and that of the environment on the human is termed as Environmental behaviour studies. These studies started in early 1950s with a campaign to improve mental hospitals. The architects appointed to design these hospitals were more concerned with the structure and form of the building rather than satisfying the human needs through the built environment. It was at this point when designers turned towards psychologists to understand the effects of the surrounding on humans and this collaboration was termed as Environmental Psychology. The effects of the environment differ from person to person but more importantly is different for different user groups. An elderly person might need their environment to be comfortable in certain ways in order to be physiologically satisfied but at the same time a child might need their environment to be exploratory and experientially enhancing in order to meet the child’s developmental needs. The implication of these needs to be satisfied by the environment, brings out the importance of studying environmental psychology as a whole but also for specific user groups in order to design for the better.

UNDERSTANDING ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY

Environmental psychology is the study of transactions between humans and their physical settings. Gifford states these transactions as those in which the humans modify their environment, and their behaviour and experiences are affected by the environment. The field of study includes theory, research and practice aimed at making the built environment more humane and to improve the symbiotic relation of humans and their environment. 19


Since the conception, the field of environmental psychology has been committed to the development of a discipline that is both value orientated and problem solving oriented, prioritising research aimed at solving complex environmental problems in the pursuit of individual well-being within a larger society (Proshansky, 1987). Through the lens of adding value and solving problems, eventually environmental psychologist started working at three major levels of analysis (Gifford, 2007): 1. Fundamental psychological processes like perception of the environment, spatial cognition, and personality as they filter and structure human experience and behaviour. 2. The management of social space: personal space, territoriality, crowding, and privacy, and the physical setting aspects of complex everyday behaviours, such as working, learning, living in a residence and community. 3. The human interactions with nature and the role of psychology in climate change. With the need of designers to understand environmental psychology, the need to incorporate these three levels of analysis in the design process also became crucial. Architects and designers have been using these three levels of analysis according to the intent and the need of the design intervention. Different methods and concepts have been developed in order to use these levels effectively and more specifically. Perception, Social space and Climate change, all have specific implications on the way it would affect a design process or a research. Environmental perception and spatial cognition talks about how people often see and interpret the same situation differently. It varies according to personal and cultural differences. Management of social spaces deals with choices and preferences of the nature and kind of spaces to occupy. These can be made consciously or subconsciously by humans though its implications can be extremely useful in design and research. Whereas, interactions with nature and other climate changes looks into making the environment climatically comfortable to enhance the user experience. In the case of this research, the study will focus on the management of social spaces in a particular kind of environment to understand implications of environmental psychology on humans.

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UNDERSTANDING ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY


THE SOCIAL SPACE

A social space is a space that encourages certain kind of interactions amongst the people who use the space. The users use this space amongst themselves according to complex set of guidelines and strong individual choices and preferences. These guidelines and preferences in turn create a space that encourages interaction in the most comfortable approach. Architects and designers have been highly intrigued by these set of guidelines and preferences and have tried to study them in relation to environmental psychology to design better for a specific user group. For example, a man waiting on a street for a friend would only choose to stand on very specific spots which are a result of his preferences. Although, his preferences are a result of what is provided to him and the manner in which it is designed. In the case of a street, the edge condition would be one of the main elements to design towards making it a more social space. What the edge provides to the larger space would make or break the usage from a social perspective. Jon Lang in his work ‘Creating Architectural Theory’ talks about social space in relation to the proximity theory : a theory that deals with a humans bodily spaces and how these can affect the humans choices and preferences. He explains the proximity theory with the help of three major concepts : Privacy, Territoriality & Personal space.

PRIVACY

Privacy is often defined as one’s physical withdrawal from others in a quest for seclusion. To that, Amos Rapoport defines privacy as “the ability to control interactions, to have options, and to achieve desired interactions,” which states it being more than just an act of isolation. The types and degrees of privacy depend on various factors. These include behavioural patterns, cultural contexts and the individual’s personality and aspirations. To design a space that requires attention to its privacy needs, it is important to take these factors into consideration. Walls and screens are used as symbolic or real territorial demarcators, and the distance is another form of expression that designers use as mechanisms to control the environment. The amount of privacy given is also a major factor of change in environmental behaviour. Too much privacy can lead to one feeling social isolation, whereas too little privacy can lead to the feeling of crowding (Altman 1975). Crowding could be extremely stressful to the user as it limits personal autonomy and expression and breaks down desired communication patterns. Rapoport talk about crowding as feeling of lack of control over the environment and is affected by the individual’s perception of the degree of control others have over intrusions they are making. 21


Territoriality for first recorded in animal behaviour by ethologists. Animals tend to define their territory by biological means i.e. by urinating and making a boundary and they show defence by the symbolic gesture of fighting. The application of territoriality to human behaviour is much more recent. Leon Pastalan defines human territory as “ a delimited space that a person or a group uses and defends as an exclusive preserve. It involves psychological identification with a place, symbolized by attitudes of possessiveness and arrangements of objects in the area”. The definition suggest various characteristics relating to human territoriality such as the ownership of the place, the personalizations made, the right to defend against intrusion and satisfying basic physiological needs of cognition.

TERRITORIALITY

The implication of territoriality on design can be in the form of limitation of accessibility on territorial zoning. Herman Hertzberger states that “the character of each area will depend to a large extent on who determines the furnishing and arrangement of the space, who is in charge, who takes care of it and who is or feels responsible for it. Through territorial zoning, architects and designers can achieve an understanding of how the usability of a certain environment can differ according to the dynamics of the user group occupying the space.

The mechanism used to attain privacy is through provision of Personal Space. It refers to the distance that animals of the same non-contact species maintain amongst themselves except for the most intimate interactions (Becker and Mayo 1971). The concept of personal space was first introduced by Robert Sommer’s in his book Personal Space: The behavioural basis of design in 1969. Sommer refers to personal space as “an area with an invisible boundary surrounding the person’s body into which intruders may not come”. One can feel encroached upon and have a feeling of discomfort if someone enters this space without permission. Though the opposite also happens when one seeks intimacy with the other and invites them into compromise upon their personal space boundaries. It is important for architects and designers to understand the need as well as the implementation and translation into design for personal spaces while designing a specific environment. Personal space comes most into recognition while designing public places like schools, colleges, administrative public offices, airports, railway stations etc. Though there are spaces where the violation of personal space boundaries is tolerated and accepted. This situation occurs in settings like elevators, waiting rooms, queues etc. Here, as it is an unwanted violation but an accepted one, people generally tend to avoid conversations and eye contacts.

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PERSONAL SPACE


The concept to the social space is one which is ever evolving and has its roots in various disciplines but mostly environmental behavioural studies and its association to the design of these environments towards building better spaces.

USER-GROUP SPECIFIC

Different user groups have different kinds of needs that has to be satisfied by the environment. The same environment can affect the different user groups differently. Various age groups, ethnic groups, special user groups have certain specifications, choices and preference which the architect should take into consideration. There is a considerable amount of research done on each of these group’s needs and preferences which could be used. The significance of studying these individual group’s needs and preferences from a user point of view is that it would feed the architects design with a richness of understanding that can be applied in any design intervention relating to those user groups.

THE ARCHITECTURAL PROCESS

“Social design is a way of creating buildings that fit occupants and user better by involving them in the planning process” - Robert Sommer Sommer refers to user involvement in the process of programming as the key to a successful social space. Social design aims to match the environmental settings to their users, to satisfy their principal needs, to promote personal control and to encourage social support. It mostly deals with serving the needs of the building occupants first, though it also offers benefits to the architects and the designers. The design process starts with formulating a program based on the needs, followed by the translation of that into a design and then construction. The clear picture is seen when the building comes into use and the users start adapting to the designed environments. After this, a post occupancy evaluation is conducted by environmental psychologists to examine the effectiveness of the program and the implementation of the design.

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CHILD


WHY?

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” - John F. Kennedy Kennedy believed that children are a reflection of the time they grew in, and hence it is not just important but also our responsibility to shape the children to their best for the larger good of human kind. In order to make this process more efficient, child psychologists have come up with various theories that can be used to understand the development of a child through various stages of life.

CHILD DEVELOPMENT

Child development was largely ignored through much of history. The interest in the field of child development began in the early 20th century and with time researchers became interested in topics such as what influences this development or how to predict the development etc. Attention was paid to cognitive abilities, language usage and physical growth that occurs during these developmental periods. The understanding of the biological, psychological and emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and the end of adolescence is termed as Child Development. It the process in which an individual progresses from dependency to increasing autonomy. Elizabeth Hurlock explains the meaning of development as a progressive series of changes of an orderly, coherent type towards the goal of maturity. It follows a pattern which is continuous, orderly, progressive and predictable. Within this pattern there is considerable correlation between the types of development. For example, physical growth of a child would affect the motor development.

PIAGET’S COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT THEORY

The development of child is often looked at using a stage approach where each age group is correlated with the kind of development that occurs during that time. Jean Piaget uses a similar method to explain his theory of cognitive development in children. He classifies childhood into distinct stages based on cognitive developmental psychology of children. To Piaget, cognitive development was a progressive reorganisation of mental processes as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience. Children construct an understanding of the world around them, then experience discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment. Piaget’s cognitive theory has three major elements: - Schemas - Assimilation, Accommodation & Equilibration - Stages of development 25


A schema is an organised pattern of thought that establishes a mental framework that represents some aspect of the world. It is a basic building block of organising knowledge. Piaget defines a schema as ‘a cohesive, repeatable action sequence possessing component actions that are tightly interconnected and governed by a core meaning’. Piaget emphasised the importance of schemas in cognitive development, and described how they were developed or acquired. A schema can be defined as a set of linked mental representations of the world, which we use both to understand and to respond to situations.

SCHEMA

When one uses an existing schema to deal with a new object or a situation, Piaget defines that process as Assimilation. Where as, Accommodation happens when the existing schema doesn’t work and needs to be modified to deal with a new object. Piaget believed that all children try to strike a balance between assimilation and accommodation, which is achieved through a mechanism called equilibration.

ASSIMILATION, ACCOMMODATION & EQUILIBRATION

A child’s cognitive development is about a child constructing a mental model of the world. Piaget believed that children go through 4 universal stages of cognitive development.

STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT

The Sensorimotor Stage (Birth-2 years) : During this stage, infants and toddlers acquire knowledge through sensory experiences and manipulating objects. The main achievement during this stage is object permanence - knowing that an object still exists, even if it is hidden. Children at this stage are not able to structure an idea that represents a concept or a thing in real world. Perception and recognition relating to memory and image is not possible at this stage due to the same. It is important for the research that the chosen age group has a certain level of coherence towards occupied spaces. The Preparation Stage (2-7 years) : At this stage, kids learn through pretend play but still struggle with logic and taking the point of view of other people. They also often struggle with understanding the ideal of constancy. During this stage, young children are able to think about things symbolically. This is the ability to make one thing - a word or an object - stand for something other than itself. At this stage, visual perception and recognition becomes stronger, though the child would constantly struggle with correlating it with the specified act. The Concrete Operational Stage (7-11 years) : Piaget considered the concrete stage a major turning point in the child’s cognitive 26


development, because it marks the beginning of logical or operational thought. During this time, children gain a better understanding of mental operations. Children begin thinking logically about concrete events, but have difficulty understanding abstract or hypothetical concepts. Children at this stage also start making correlations between ideas and the act related to the idea. The concept of ‘liking’ or ‘preference’ with relevance to their senses also becomes stronger. The Formal Operational Stage (11 years onwards) : The final stage of Piaget’s theory involves an increase in logic, the ability to use deductive reasoning, and an understanding of abstract ideas. At this point, people become capable of seeing multiple potential solutions to problems and think more scientifically about the world around them. In the case of this research, the study will focus on the Concrete Operational Stage in which the connection between shapes and coordinated actions becomes clearly apparent. Children of this stage start recognising lines that form shapes and shapes that form surfaces and surfaces that form spaces, and start logically linking and reasoning these lines, shapes and spaces to a specific set of actions or events that those are meant to support.

IMPLICATIONS OF THE ENVIRONMENT ON A CHILD

“Children shape their environment and the environment shapes them” - Striniste & Moore. There is growing consensus that the built environment plays a significant role in the well-being of children. Clearly, through theories and researches done in the past it is clear that the development of a child is shaded by the interaction and the relation the child develops with the environment. By the time children enter the concrete operational stage, the children are genetically programmed for exploration of the world and bonding with nature. (Cobb, 1969) The children are active in grasping and understanding the natural world through play. It stimulates their cognitive faculties of sight, touch, taste, audio and olfactory. They are emotionally affected by outdoor settings through direct, literal or tactile contacts. (Yates, 2002) The direct contacts with the natural environment also allow the child to explore, imagine and discover. The design of environments for children must conform to their physical, cognitive and social functioning and development (Ismail, 2009). According to Ismail Said, the physical functioning includes motor actions such as fluid rolling, jumping, running etc. whereas physical development shows the pattern of bodily growth and maturation of children interacting with the environment. Cognitive functioning refers 27


to the perceptual responses of the child’s cognitive development. It examines the systematic changes in the child’s reasoning, memory and concepts whereas social functioning is the interaction of the child with peers and adults that affords them to assimilate and accommodate the actions of others.

The selection of the child’s favourite space is an outcome of various factors affecting the image of the space in the child’s mind. The children tend to select spaces within their territorial range. The child’s knowledge of the environment, their tendency to explore the environment and curiosity might serve as variable factors affecting the territorial range of the child. Though, on the other hand, social and physical restrictions may end up hindering the child’s range of spaces. Van Andel (1980) argues that the child’s environmental behaviour and their opinions are determined mainly by age and gender related characteristics. Whereas, Malinowski and Thurber (1996) state that various factors affect the choice and evaluate of a favourite place. They list it as:

FACTORS

- Prior exposure to different environments. - Rural versus urban upbringing. - Parental restrictions on environmental exploration. - Vicarious familiarity with diverse environments through media. - Peers’ preferences. Numerous factors affect the child’s place preference though there is another chain of theories that come to prove that children are the most flexible form of human life and that they can make-do in any given setting of environment.

When a meaning is associated with a specific space that people live in, place comes into existence. The understanding of a place can be achieved in a much shorter span but to get a feel of the place and to be attached to the place requires a large number of routine activities and regular experiences of the space. Place exists at various scales, from a particular part of a house in which a person resides to the streets of the town they grew up in etc. The phrase ‘feel at home’ is often used for places where people have associated a larger meaning to the space rather than just the function or the activity attached to it. Place attachment is normally understood to be part of a person’s overall identity, consisting of the memories, feelings, beliefs and meanings associated with their physical surroundings (Proshansky, 1983). This works similarly in the case of children. From a very young age, children develop positive or negative feelings about their 28

CHILDHOOD PLACE ATTACHMENT


everyday surroundings. Place attachment in children depends on the positive cognitions the child collects regarding a specific space and is linked with certain meanings for the child. The largest influence on the subsequent development of place attachment is known to be created by direct and repeated experiences of places in childhood that have a social meaning attached to them. Gordon Jack in his book states that till the age of four to five, the home is likely to be the place of attachment whereas by the time they leave primary school, children tend to have developed an understanding of their geographical place in the wider world and also would start exploring parts of their local neighbourhood and surroundings. This is followed by teenage years, where the child develops a more conscious sense of attachment to a specific place and also develops a desire to continue to live there into adulthood. The feeling of belonging tend to be the strongest amongst children of this age group as they start perceiving that they have been fully included and accepted within their local community (Gould and White, 1968).

CHILDHOOD PLACE PREFERENCE

Place preference studies refers to the studies where children describe their favourite (important, liked, valued) or unpleasant places in their everyday surroundings (Kalevi Korpela). Place identity and place attachment can be looked at as interrelated phenomenons to place preference. Studies of childhood spaces such as Lukashok & Lynch (1956) and Moore (1986) have shown that strong emotions are attached to places. These places chosen by children can provide feelings of privacy, control and security. It is important for children to find refuge from social pressures and be on their own for a while. Certain hiding or lookout spots created by children hold deep emotional significance attached with the child. Places of solitary retreat are also as important as the ones where children associate a social value. The loss of a favourite spot or even a part of it can be an extremely difficult emotional experience for the child. On the other hand, children also associate negative feelings to a place and identify them as fear or danger. Studies have shown that children tend to dislike places with absence of natural environment, excessive noise, lengthy distances etc.

SPACES IN MEMORY

With concepts such as place preference & place attachment, children tend to have a few spaces in their memory even when they grow up. These spaces tend to be associated with a specific feeling, mood or an event. The next part of the research looks into what these memories mean to adults and what are the over-ruling features or factors of the space that tend to make these memories stronger and more meaningful. 29


In my old house there was a mezzanine floor, which was my grandfathers library. In the middle of one of its walls there was an attic which needed me to use the library’s ladder to get into. It was quite long and only high enough for me to sit in it. It was damp and smelt like old stuff. The reason i really liked going in there was because I was forbidden to go there due to the risk of falling from the ladder which was an adventure for me. I would spend time opening random boxes, feeding my curiosity and was a playground for my favourite toys as when i arranged them in there, no one would ever move it. Kavin Mehta

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Back in the day my parents owned a huge piece of farm land where they would work all day to feed our large family. We did not have any watchmen or caretakers to keep an eye on the crop and so my father appointed me, a seven year old to keep an eye on the crops while they were away on another field. I would gather a few friends, take along some food and pebbles to throw at crows and climb up the most humongous tree on the field. The tree was dense and strong and was our refuge in the blinding heat of Rajasthan. As time would go by and our minds would be filled with boredom, we would start playing Tag on the tree. We would run on the branches and swing across the tree like monkeys to tag the other fellow. Now it sure feels like a risky game but back then we would fall over and over but no kid would ever cry. This is how most of my childhood was - creating a game of any situation I was ever put in. Motilal Ahari

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A childhood memory that continues to embrace me with a deep sense of happiness is linked to a summer-holiday activity involving a heechko that occupied the entrance hall of my grandparents’ home in an Ahmedabad pol. Many an afternoon, and at times, entire days were spent swinging solo or with a bunch of cousins in tow as we steadily worked up its rhythmic movement from a gentle pace to an exhilarating speed that had us believe that we were flying through the air. Thinking back, the heechko embodied a space that was both familiar and full of wondrous possibilities. The physical act of swinging for no reason other than the sheer joy of it gave wings to frequent flights of fancy. It became a space for daydreaming, for making up random games and stories and a way of marking time as the holidays drew to a close. For me, those moments opened up ways to seek adventure and derive joy, often from the most ordinary objects and experiences. Lajja Shah

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For me, the idea of space was divided by a socio-economic wall. I grew up in a wadi. With a well, coconut trees, papaya and guava trees, a sandy playground and houses with Mangalore roof tiles. An idyllic, blissful setting. Then I saw another ‘space’ that was equally pleasing. It came up behind a stone compound wall that I could climb up with ease at that age and peer across. It was a cluster of cute, white-coloured Bauhaus-style (which I wasn’t aware of at the time) buildings that made up the staff quarters of ICICI Bank, complete with large patches of well-manicured lawns and a garden with bougainvillea, gladioli and other flowering plants. It also had pockets of open spaces and a tennis court that seemed perpetually empty. Now when I think of these two spaces, I can say that one was naturally sustaining in its rustic beauty and the other one was created for a pleasant lifestyle. In one space, I could eat oomber (a fig-like fruit), picked off the ground, just like that. As for the ‘other’, I would have clicked a photo of the minimalist structures, if I had a camera back then. Totally aspirational. The irony being that, more often than not, naturally sustaining spaces become our first choice for a second home. And not our first. Hemant Basankar

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I grew up to be an extremely mischievous kid and was completely fearless. My father and his brother would try all sorts of punishments to mellow down my childish pranks but my mischievous nature had no bounds. When I would do something naughty, my mother would lock me in our storeroom (kothar) where we stored all our yearly grains in huge earthen drums. As I would sit aimlessly in the dark, my prankster soul would be awakened. I would climb up the cupboard and jump onto the mezzanine and start breaking the earthen pots which were used for cooking. That wouldn’t be the end of it, my mischievous mind would quickly scan every prop available to me, my favourite were the large earthen drums of grains. I would open all of them up and mix the grains and pulses from one drum to another creating a mess which to my mind was beauty. This would be the epitome of my pleasure and my parents anger, but most importantly the most cherished memory of my childhood. Sanat Jhaveri

34


It’s a known fact that space is a major issue in a city like a Mumbai. A Mumbaikar makes use of this small space in the most innovative way to avoid daily life mishaps. Along with my parents and three siblings, I have stayed happily adjusting to each other’s needs. My friends and I, we used to study in the shade of the huge water tank located on our terrace. We would feel content as we would gaze at the beautiful sky, the birds chirping around and the breeze caressing our souls as we gaze at the magnificent coconut trees. This was a common practice for all of us so that the other family members wouldn’t get disturbed. My upbringing was amidst all the adversities, but we still enjoyed to the fullest as we used to get pleasure from all small things. The bond created for the family was much more stronger as we grew up adjusting and sacrificing our personal needs for each other. Sudha Jhaveri

35


Children tend to choose spaces with specific features or elements that make the space meaningful for them. This selection can sometimes also be a subconscious decision. Though it is important to consider each feature in the space as it would directly or indirectly affect the child’s being in the space. Through the experiences described by adults about their childhood, some parallels about these features could be drawn in order to further create a set of parameters for the research. This process requires clear segregation and categorization of the experiences provided by the adults. In order to analyses these texts, it is important to firstly extract a few set of features that are clearly visible through the visualizations of the texts. In most cases, there is a clear understanding of the association of the space in the larger context and a certain awareness is also observed in the child’s positioning in the space described. For example, in the case of Lajja Shah, there is clear reference to the larger context of Ahmedabad Pol with an awareness of her being on the ‘heechko’ (swing) in one of the houses. Children are extremely self aware of their being as it would generally be in relation to a feeling attached to the idea of being in that particular space. In the contrary, in the case of Hemant Basankar, an extremely clear understanding of ones behavioral differences according to the spaces occupied is noted. In such cases, the memory is attached more to connections a child establishes with its built environment more than the positioning at a specific moment. The case of establishing interactions could also be looked at in Kavin Mehta’s case where the child is associated with a place due to the feeling of being alone and no one being able to move their toys. Kavin here tries to establish a connection of being away from the vision of his grandfather and being able to engage in fanciful adventures. Apart from association & interaction, a understanding of physical engagement that children try to indulge with as refuge is also seen. For example, in the case of Sanat Jhaveri, the child even when put in a closed room as a punishment is constantly attracted by physical elements that they can engage with a larger purpose - in this case mischief. These chosen elements can be either architectural or natural depending on the child and the situation. Similarly children tend to have an understanding of security & enclosure which could be looked at as the comfort level of the child. These key features in these experiences are conscious decisions a child takes in order to chose a spaces based on their preferences. The diagram on the right summarizes words and instances from texts provided by adults and categorizes them in order to further explore children’s spatial preferences.

36

EXTRACTING KEY FEATURES IN SPACES IN MEMORY

SPACES IN MEMORY


SPATIAL ASSOCIATION

entrace hall pols of ahmedabad house with mangalore tiles old house grandfather’s library attic parent’s farms rajasthan store room mumbai terrace

SOCIAL INTERACTION

solo cousins grandfather friends crows mother father father’s brother parents siblings birds

PHYSICAL ENGAGEMENT

heechko (swing) stone compound wall well coconut, papaya & guava trees mezzanine floor ladder books toys large tree fields earthen drums cupboard mezzanine water tank coconut trees

SENSE OF COMFORT

day-dreaming eating oomber (a fig-like fruit) damp & smelt like old stuff forbidden to go there blindening heat locked darkness shade of the water tank breeze caressing our souls

37


SCHOOL


WHY?

A child’s behaviour changes according to the environment occupied. Different kinds of settings give different outcomes. The child’s interaction with the environment might not be measured to equal if compared at different types of environment. For example, a child might be extremely curious when put in a park but may also feel a bit insecure of the surroundings when compared to that at home. For the case of this research, it is important to look at children in a specific environment in order to formulate specific results. In order to choose a specific typology, it is important to understand a child’s daily pattern of space occupancy. A typical day in a child’s life would include space occupancy and interaction at three major building typologies: home, playground and school. The home is where the child feels most secure. Due to the amount of time spent being maximum, the level of place attachment is also high. At any given situation, the home is a refuge for the child due to the environment the house along with the parents provide. Also, due to the absence of any peers or strangers, the child starts to feel ownership of the space and also starts relating to spaces with meanings and memories. The playground is where the child feels most curious and exploratory. It is a place where the child spends hours of play and exploration and hence means a lot to the child. It also is the presence of peers that brings in the concept of territoriality. The concept of territoriality is related to that of insecurity. It is believed that one feels the need to mark their territory when one feels insecure about their personal space. Here, the child is also exposed to strangers and this also might affect the child’s interaction with the environment. The school is where the child feels secure due to the regularity of occupancy and at the same time feels equally curious to explore the surroundings. The child due to the presence of peers and adults (teachers) feel highly sociable in school environments. It is often because of the presence of peers, the child is always on toes even in the most comfortable situations. Together along with the subjects, it becomes challenging in various ways for the child. An ideal environment should make the child feel secure but also should challenge the child. The school offers a perfect balance of an environment that encourages social interaction along with elements to explore in the environment for the child. Hence, for the case of this research, the building typology of school environments have been selected to understand how children occupy space. The building typology of schools would be used as an underlining theme to look into the lives of children and to get a sense of their space occupancy and usage.

39


The times at school are the most cherished memories almost all adults have. It is this perfect balance of self exploration and socialization that allows the child to develop to the fullest and hence, during the process of development, these memories are made. The school becomes a platform for communities to engage themselves into the process of learning along with social interaction. Playing with one’s friends on the school play ground, sitting under a tree while eating lunch, chat with one’s friends while the teacher looks away, gather in the assembly for morning prayers, run around in the open corridors, have a secret spot for meeting a friend etc. brings the community together and makes them stronger. It is important for a school to allow children to be a part of the larger school community rather than just being a part of the classroom.

THE SCHOOL

Herman Hertzberger talks about the city as a combination of open, shared and closed-off spaces, within which the urban context serves to define responsibilities. He goes on to compare this principle of division to that within building and states that the school building is like a ‘micro-city’. “It is especially in public areas that you come in contact with others, who are doing different things, and it is there that you are confronted with a large world than that of your classroom or school, or your particular section of a school” says Hertzberger.

SCHOOL AS A CITY

This can be understood by looking at each classroom or private zones as a domain that belongs to a specific child and that the communal space becomes a space that provides scope for exchange between different domains. Hertzberger talk about these domains as something that do not have strongholds and where the boundaries between private and communal spaces are permeable and transparent. These in-between zones would become spaces for subjects from different domains to express their identity. He believes that this is only one step away from thinking about it as something like a shopping street in which different domains such as classrooms can manifest themselves with its own distinctive character. With the loss of faith in classrooms as the sole provider of eduction, today, some have gone to the other extreme. In order to blur boundaries, there are cases in which schools have kept everything open. This fails to express the exchange of domains as now everything is open and hence, exchange is not required. In such a situation, people would be left without a space they can call their own. “It is not just buildings that need structure: people too need a structured environment, in which each person can feel at home. You need a home base to which you can always return, and from which you can venture out to explore the world.”

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SCHOOLS IN AHMEDABAD

Ahmedabad has always been an important hub for education in our country. Mostly known for its higher educational institutions like Indian Institute of Management, National Institute of Design, Centre for Environmental Planing and Technology etc., Ahmedabad has always been on the rise to improve the quality of education and educational infrastructure in lower education too. It also has a history of pioneers like Mahatma Gandhi and Maria Montessori who contributed towards making the city’s educational culture richer. Due to this, Ahmedabad has also been a hub to various experimental schools. These schools are the ones that challenge the educational philosophies, methodologies and their execution as well. For the case of this research, multiple kinds of schools were looked at as case studies. The city has a variety of school differing from one another in their philosophies, approach and their built form. The criteria of selection of these case studies were derived through multiple visits to understand what suits the study the best. The main criteria for this study was exploratory built form, which was derived through the architectural characteristics of the school environment & freedom for the children to express, which was derived through the philosophies and the approach of the school. The schools taken as case studies are: - Redbricks School - C.N. Vidhyalaya - Riverside School In the next part, all these three schools are studied through drawings and various observations in order to gain an understanding of how spacial preferences in children differ and what are the roots of these preferences.

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REDBRICKS SCHOOL CASE 1

Three ancient Indian principles act as strong pillars of our institution. Our attempt is to infuse them across all levels in order to build a great and enduring educational institution.

PHILOSOPHY

Shiksha or Learning means valuing the continuous acquisition of knowledge at all stages of life. Each individual at Redbricks is encouraged to develop a relentless curiosity and a passion to continuously learn through inquiry and dialogue. Saadhana or Practice for the Pursuit of Excellence means trying to be the best that one can be in every situation as well as to improve oneself constantly. Each member at Redbricks is expected to draw motivation intrinsically, set standards for excellence, to be reflective and mindful, be disciplined and hard working and act ethically in accordance with the larger good of the system and society. Swara or Rhythm denotes the elements of beauty, creativity and harmony. At Redbricks, we value the development of the aesthetic senses along with intellectual development. An appreciation for all things beautiful results in an engaging rhythm that makes life fulfilling.

The architect here has attempted to create a settlement typology of the spatial organization. With various building block housing various functions, the in-betweens become streets & alleys creating multiple spatial zones for the children to occupy. In such a typology, the smaller scale is focused at and hence there is a lack of one unified large space. Due to this, the courtyard and the semi-open spaces become extremely important in this scenario.

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SPATIAL ORGANIZATION


43


C.N. VIDYALAYA CASE 2

Established in 1941, this is the school where the real education of the student starts. Students are not only introduced to maths and grammatical concepts but also their social and cultural skills are developed. As India’s freedom struggle took its roots in Ahmedabad, C.N.’s educational philosophy came to be strongly inspired by Gandhian values and principles. What started as a boarding facility, developed over time to address the larger educational needs of the society – mainly its children and the youth.

PHILOSOPHY

The educational philosophy of Bal Vidyalaya is a blend of traditional and modern values. Teachers seek creative expression from the students – be it a math or a language class. In the lower standards, one teacher is assigned one class and he/she teaches the same group all through the year. Value inculcation is done in students through moral stories by the teachers. The school shares an open-door policy with parents. Needy students are given fee-waiver on the school fees. Parents are guided by the teachers at regular intervals regarding their child’s progress and allround development.

The architect here has attempted a classical approach towards the spacial organization of the built space. The classrooms are arranged in manner that forms a courtyard right in the center of the school. This makes the courtyard the most significant feature of such typologies of schools. Apart from the central courtyard, the spill out areas are used as playgrounds for children. Due to this, children during recess tend to group themselves in various groups in different spaces of the school environment.

44

SPATIAL ORGANIZATION


45


RIVERSIDE SCHOOL CASE 3

Over the last 16 years, Riverside has designed, implemented and shared a unique user centered curriculum that is providing schools with an alternative model which focuses on quality of learning and student well being. The practices have been recognized worldwide and the school has regularly been honored for its academic achievement as well as its unique philosophy of ‘Doing Good and Doing Well’. Riverside School’s achievement stands as a testimonial of a true 21st century model with its students consistently outperforming the top 10 schools in India. The Riverside approach is:

PHILOSOPHY

To communicate a compelling idea of children and childhood, their potentials and competencies. To promote and practice empathy in education, with particular emphasis to cultivate children’s creative confidence through promoting creative agency To advance the professionalism and culture of teachers, promoting a greater awareness of the value of work and of meaningful relationships with the children and their families. To highlight the value of research, observation, interpretation, and documentation of children’s knowledge-building and thinking processes. To share best practices through educational dialogue, conferences, professional development courses on the issues of education and the culture of childhood.

The architect here had attempted to modify the classical courtyard plan by opening up the court to another built space and using the in between as a transitional space between the two distinct built environments. Large trees are placed in the courtyard in order to provide shade and also break down the scale of the courtyard. This makes the courtyard the most central and shaded space in the built environment.

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SPATIAL ORGANIZATION


47


EXPLORING SPATIAL PREFERENCES OF CHILDREN


IN ARCHITECTURAL CONTEXT

Place preference in children is understood as a feeling that a child develops towards a particular space when they start associating the space with a memory or an event that happened in the past. It is fairly common to come across children who would have extremely specific preferences of space. These preferences have various factors that affect the child’s decision regarding the occupancy of the space. One such factor would be the child’s background - where does the child come from? What is the child’s story? A lot of these questions can be answered through in-depth child psychological studies and experiments. One would need to understand the child as an individual personality in order to understand the child’s background, which would not be an architect’s forte. For an architectural study to explore child preferences of spaces it is important to focus on architectural parameters or features of the space that would affect the occupancy along with understanding the sociability factor of the children.

SOCIAL GROUPS

Children tend to occupy spaces based on their willingness to socialize. It is commonly observed that one of the major factor that affects a child’s place preference would be the presence of peers in various social groups. In the case of this particular research, children have been divided into different social groups based on the number of possible interactions they can indulge in. These social groups are: One person This part looks at children who occupy spaces individually. A single child tends to occupy spaces extremely specifically. Some would find a corner whereas some would occupy the most central space. One to One person The children who occupy a space with one specific individual other are considered a part of this part. Children trying to socialize with one specific other are looked at. Groups of Few The children occupying a space in groups of 3 to 6 are focused on in this part. These groups are the ones that keep shifting from larger spaces to smaller intimate ones. Groups of Many This part looks at children who occupy spaces in groups having an occupancy larger than 6 children. Groups such as these tend to occupy the most central spaces. For the case of this research, the space occupied by a specific social group is termed as a social zone hence forward. 49


To study the earlier established social zoning of children, certain parameters need to be established as constants, which would then provide a platform on which all possible situations in the school environment can be studied simultaneously. To study these situations and to establish a relation amongst them to further develop a set of guidelines, certain keywords need to be established as parameters of the study,

QUESTIONS

Where is the space located and does distance make a difference in the preference? What is the nature of the space and how the child perceives it for themselves? What are the elements that constitute the space in order to make it a physical anchor? - are some questions that one would look into while understanding spacial preferences from an architectural perspective.

These questions along with prior understandings from the literature and spaces in memory exercise, are used to set specific parameters to observe and analyse the situations occurring in the social zones. The parameters defined for the study are as follows:

LOCATION & POSITIONING

CONNECTION & ORIENTATION

ENCLOSURE & EXPOSURE

SURFACE & GROUND

SUNLIGHT & SHADING

PHYSICAL ANCHORS

In the above diagram, each parameter is assigned a colour which is further used as a key to read the diagram on the right. The diagram on the right talks about various concepts extracted from literature and spaces in memory and visualizes each concept’s relation to the extracted parameters

50

PARAMETERS


SOCIAL SPACE

LITERATURE

PERSONAL SPACE

DEVELOPMENTAL NEEDS

PLACE ATTACHMENT

PLACE PREFERENCE

SCHOOL AS A CITY

SPACES IN MEMORY

SPATIAL ASSOCIATION

SOCIAL INTERACTION

PHYSICAL ENGAGEMENT

SENSE OF COMFORT

51


Where the children are, in context of the entire school environment and in context of other children is looked at in this parameter. Location is crucial to the study as it defines the exact surrounding of the child that has to be studied. For the case of this research, location & positioning are defined as the key to observe whether the child is occupying firstly, a central or a peripheral space and secondly, whether these spaces are open, semi-open or closed in nature. Some children might occupy peripheral spaces that allow them to shift from one social zone to the other, whereas some might occupy the most central space in order to be seen. By defining these, one could draw parallels between a certain social group and their positioning in these different nature of spaces.

LOCATION & POSITIONING

Children from where they are positioned always try to establish certain audio and/or visual connection with other groups of children. They tend to orient themselves in such a way that allows them to create or avoid these connection. For the case of this research, connection & orientation are defined as the criteria to observe how these connections are established and how children use these in order to be seen or not be seen and be heard or not be heard. For example a child can choose a space to occupy because it would allow the child to see everyone but also doesn’t allow the child to come into focus of the other children. The need of the child to not be seen but to see everything would arise the possibility of occupying a certain space that allows such a connection.

CONNECTION & ORIENTATION

The children choose their favourable space also on the basis of the sense of security and comfort. This sense of comfort is derived from either the presence of certain individuals that the child can relate to or to the immediate built or natural surroundings that provide a certain amount of enclosure and exposure to the child. Children often tend to find spaces that have a balance of enclosure and exposure, though the range of the same may vary from child to child. For the case of this research, enclosure and exposure are defined to understand the degree of this relation that the child establishes with the surroundings. How enclosed or exposed is the child and what the elements that constitute to this relation.

ENCLOSURE & EXPOSURE

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SURFACE & GROUND

It is important to look into the kind of surfaces that children occupy to understand their preferences. For example, it is easier to occupy a space that has undulations as it allows the child to be playful and also allows the child to sit back and relax, but spaces with no undulation can also be favoured by certain children who are looking for larger expanses. For the case of this research, surface and ground are defined to understand how modulations and textures can affect the occupancy for the child. It also looks at whether the make of these surfaces affect the occupancy or not. For example, a man-made undulation would have a different impact to that which is natural.

SUNLIGHT & SHADING

The nature of spaces that the children choose have implications to whether the spaces are shaded or not. It is important for the child to feel climatically sound in order to occupy a certain space. For example, in the case of schools located in Ahmedabad, children would prefer shaded spaces over unshaded one but it is also important for the child to find larger shaded spaces to play around. In such situation, how the spaces are shaded becomes more important. For the case of this research, sunlight and shading are defined to understand how the number of children in a group can affect the occupancy in a shaded space and depending on the same, whether the spaces are designed to be shaded or are naturally shaded is considered.

PHYSICAL ANCHORS

Children while choosing their favourable space, tend to identify anchors that bind these spaces and would attract the child to find refuge amongst them. These physical anchors are important as depending on their functionality and scale, various social groups would occupy them differently. For the case of this research, physical anchors are defined as elements that children try to find refuge with. These elements can be man-made or natural, but the key to these elements and their occupancy lie in which kind of social group do they attract the most.

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APPLICATION ON SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTS


SITUATION MATRIX

Through the implications of the social groups, correlations of situations present in each scenario is drawn out. The observation has been done specifically at recess time as that is the only time in all three cases when the children use the entire school environment without being instructed by any teachers or guides. The matrix diagram on the next spread talks about multiple situations occurring in each school environment with an understanding of categorization through social grouping & interaction through activities such as eating and playing during recess. The matrix is used as a base for further exploring spatial preferences of children through social grouping. It demarcates the number of situations taken into account for each social zone and its activity.

SUB-PARAMETERS

In order to look into each of these situations through the lens of the parameters it is necessary to first define what each parameter tries to find in a situation. The spread after the matrix is an illustration visualizing each of the possible sub-divisions in which these parameters can be applied to the given situation. The illustration provided is a graphical visualization of one of the possibilities of each division and is not absolute. It is in order to achieve a sense of clarity while looking at each situation. Each condition has been numbered and have been explained along with an icon that represents itself. These icons are further used as a key to analyse each situation in order to derive inferences.

55


SITUATION MATRIX

56


57


12

11

10

7

8

9

58

6


3

13 14

1

2

4

5

16

15

59


60

1

2

LOCATION & POSITIONING CENTRAL

LOCATION & POSITIONING PERIPHERAL

a central portion of a space or an area

the edges or thresholds of a space or an area

3

6

CONNECTION & ORIENTATION SEE & BE SEEN

ENCLOSURE & EXPOSURE COMPLETELY ENCLOSED

orientated to maximize two way vision

positioned with surfaces or elements on four sides

4

7

CONNECTION & ORIENTATION SEE & NOT BE SEEN

ENCLOSURE & EXPOSURE SEMI ENCLOSED

orientated to facilitate one way vision only

positioned with surfaces or elements on 2 sides

5

8

CONNECTION & ORIENTATION SEE & HEARD

ENCLOSURE & EXPOSURE COMPLETELY EXPOSED

orientated & placed to maximize two way audio & visual

positioned with no surfaces or elements to enclose


9

12

SURFACE & GROUND FLAT GROUND

SUNLIGHT & SHADING COMPLETELY SHADED

engagement with natural or man-made flat surfaces

positioned in a completely sunlight protected space

10

13

SURFACE & GROUND NATURAL UNDULATION

SUNLIGHT & SHADING PARTIALLY SHADED

engagement with only naturally undulated surfaces

positioned in a partially sunlight protected space

11

14

SURFACE & GROUND MAN-MADE UNDULATION

SUNLIGHT & SHADING COMPLETELY UNSHADED

engagement with only artificially undulated surfaces

positioned with no protection to sunlight

15

16

PHYSICAL ANCHOR ARCHITECTURAL

PHYSICAL ANCHOR NATURAL

orientated & placed to maximize two way audio & visual

positioned with no surfaces or elements to enclose 61


ONE PERSON EATING SPACES AND ITS ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES 62


ONE PERSON EATING SPACES

FOCUS

The focus here will be on children occupying spaces to eat by themselves in order to understand on a larger scale what does this social group tend to prefer in a school environment.

OBSERVATIONS

In order to deduce generic observation, children have been looked at through the parameters and categorized according to the highly prevailing tendencies to further derive conclusions. Tendency to occupy open/semi-open peripheral spaces Children in this group are observed to occupy spaces which are peripheral in nature. These peripheral spaces are noted to be in the midst of central open spaces & semi-open spaces, hence making it an open or semi-open in nature. Tendency to see & be seen It is important for the child to choose a location in a way that they can establish certain connections. In this case, the children are observed to occupy locations from where it is possible for other children to view them while keeping an eye on most of the central active spaces themselves. Tendency to occupy semi-enclosed built or natural spaces Children observed in this group tend to occupy spaces that provide a certain degree of enclosure while exposing them to a certain extent at the same time. In most cases, a balance between man-made and natural enclosure is observed. Tendency to engage with man-made undulated surfaces In the case of children occupying spaces by themselves, it is noted that the children tend to engage in the playfulness of undulated surfaces than that of flat surfaces. It is observed that undulated man made surfaces due to their designed interactiveness have a tendency to engage the children in a dialogue with the built. Tendency to take partial shelter under built forms As important as it is to feel enclosed, it is also important for the children to be in shaded spaces. Children in this category are observed to occupy spaces that are partially shaded. In most cases, the children tend to take partial shelter under man-made built forms. Tendency to recognize architectural elements as anchors Children tend to find physical anchors to a space that act as a refuge. In this category, these anchors are noted to majorly be architectural elements that the children use to sit on or lean against. 63


ONE PERSON PLAYING SPACES AND ITS ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES 64


ONE PERSON PLAYING SPACES

FOCUS

The focus here will be on children occupying spaces by themselves while playing in order to understand on a larger scale what does this social group tend to prefer in a school environment.

OBSERVATIONS

In order to deduce generic observation, children have been looked at through the parameters and categorized according to the highly prevailing tendencies to further derive conclusions. Tendency to occupy open/semi-open peripheral spaces Children in this group are observed to occupy spaces which are peripheral in nature. These peripheral spaces are noted to be in the midst of central open spaces & semi-open spaces, hence making it an open or semi-open in nature. Tendency to see & be seen It is important for the child to choose a location in a way that they can establish certain connections. In this case, the children are observed to occupy locations from where it is possible for other children to view them while keeping an eye on most of the central active spaces themselves. Tendency to occupy semi-enclosed built or natural spaces Children observed in this group tend to occupy spaces that provide a certain degree of enclosure while exposing them to a certain extent at the same time. In most cases, a balance between man-made and natural enclosure is observed. Tendency to engage with man-made undulated surfaces In the case of children occupying spaces by themselves, it is noted that the children tend to engage in the playfulness of undulated surfaces than that of flat surfaces. It is observed that undulated man made surfaces due to their designed interactiveness have a tendency to engage the children in a dialogue with the built. Tendency to take complete shelter under built forms As important as it is to feel enclosed, it is also important for the children to be in shaded spaces. Children in this category are observed to occupy spaces that are completely shaded. In most cases, the children tend to take partial shelter under man-made built forms. Tendency to recognize architectural elements as anchors Children tend to find physical anchors to a space that act as a refuge. In this category, these anchors are noted to majorly be architectural elements that the children find playful in nature. 65


ONE TO ONE PERSON EATING SPACES AND ITS ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES 66


ONE TO ONE PERSON EATING SPACES

FOCUS

The focus here will be on children occupying spaces with a specific other individual while eating in order to understand on a larger scale what does this social group tend to prefer in a school environment.

OBSERVATIONS

In order to deduce generic observation, children have been looked at through the parameters and categorized according to the highly prevailing tendencies to further derive conclusions. Tendency to occupy open/semi-open peripheral spaces Children in this group are observed to occupy spaces which are peripheral in nature. These peripheral spaces are noted to be in the midst of central open spaces & semi-open spaces, hence making it an open or semi-open in nature. Tendency to see & be seen It is important for the child to choose a location in a way that they can establish certain connections. In this case, the children are observed to occupy locations from where it is possible for other children to view them while keeping an eye on most of the central active spaces themselves. Tendency to occupy semi-enclosed built or natural spaces Children observed in this group tend to occupy spaces that provide a certain degree of enclosure while exposing them to a certain extent at the same time. In most cases, a balance between man-made and natural enclosure is observed. Tendency to engage with man-made undulated surfaces In the case of children occupying spaces with one another individual, it is noted that the children tend to engage in the playfulness of undulated surfaces than that of flat surfaces. It is observed that undulated man made surfaces due to their designed interactiveness have a tendency to engage the children in a dialogue with the built. Tendency to take complete shelter under built forms As important as it is to feel enclosed, it is also important for the children to be in shaded spaces. Children in this category are observed to occupy spaces that are completely shaded. In most cases, the children tend to take partial shelter under man-made built forms. Tendency to recognize architectural elements as anchors Children tend to find physical anchors to a space that act as a refuge. In this category, these anchors are noted to majorly be architectural elements that the children use to sit on or lean against. 67


ONE TO ONE PERSON PLAYING SPACES AND ITS ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES 68


ONE TO ONE PERSON PLAYING SPACES

FOCUS

The focus here will be on children occupying spaces with a specific other individual while playing in order to understand on a larger scale what does this social group tend to prefer in a school environment.

OBSERVATIONS

In order to deduce generic observation, children have been looked at through the parameters and categorized according to the highly prevailing tendencies to further derive conclusions. Tendency to occupy open/semi-open peripheral spaces Children in this group are observed to occupy spaces which are peripheral in nature. These peripheral spaces are noted to be in the midst of central open spaces & semi-open spaces, hence making it an open or semi-open in nature. Tendency to see & be seen It is important for the child to choose a location in a way that they can establish certain connections. In this case, the children are observed to occupy locations from where it is possible for other children to view them while making sure they can see others in the central spaces. Tendency to occupy semi-enclosed built spaces Children observed in this group tend to occupy spaces that provide a certain degree of enclosure while exposing them to a certain extent at the same time. In most cases, this semi-enclosure is noted to be provided by man-made built spaces. Tendency to engage with man-made undulated surfaces In the case of children occupying spaces with one another individual, it is noted that the children tend to engage in the playfulness of undulated surfaces than that of flat surfaces. It is observed that undulated man made surfaces due to their designed interactiveness have a tendency to engage the children in a dialogue with the built. Tendency to take partial shelter under built & natural forms It is important for the children to be in shaded spaces. Children in this category are observed to occupy spaces that are completely shaded. In most cases, a balance between man-made and natural forms of shelter is observed. Tendency to recognize architectural elements as anchors Children tend to find physical anchors to a space that act as a refuge. In this category, these anchors are noted to majorly be architectural elements that the children find playful in nature. 69


GROUP OF FEW EATING SPACES AND ITS ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES 70


GROUPS OF FEW EATING SPACES

FOCUS

The focus here will be on children occupying spaces in a group of 3 to 6 children while eating in order to understand on a larger scale what does this social group tend to prefer in a school environment.

OBSERVATIONS

In order to deduce generic observation, children have been looked at through the parameters and categorized according to the highly prevailing tendencies to further derive conclusions. Tendency to occupy open/semi-open peripheral spaces Children in this group are observed to occupy spaces which are peripheral in nature. The peripheral spaces are noted to be in the midst of central open spaces & semi-open spaces, hence making it an open or semi-open in nature. Tendency to see & be seen and hear & be heard It is important for the child to choose a location in a way that they can establish certain connections. In this case, the children are observed to occupy locations from where it is possible for other children to view and hear them while making sure they can see and hear others in the central spaces. Tendency to occupy semi-enclosed built & natural forms Children observed in this group tend to occupy spaces that provide a certain degree of enclosure while exposing them to a certain extent at the same time. In most cases, a balance between man-made and natural forms of shelter is observed. Tendency to engage with flat surfaces In the case of children occupying spaces in groups of few, it is noted that the children tend to engage in the open expanse of flat surfaces as they allow certain kind of movement. Tendency to take complete shelter under built forms As important as it is to feel enclosed, it is also important for the children to be in shaded spaces. Children in this category are observed to occupy spaces that are completely shaded. In most cases, this complete shelter is noted to be provided by man-made built spaces. Tendency to recognize architectural elements as anchors Children tend to find physical anchors to a space that act as a refuge. In this category, these anchors are noted to majorly be architectural elements that the children use to sit on or lean against.

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GROUP OF FEW PLAYING SPACES AND ITS ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES 72


GROUPS OF FEW PLAYING SPACES

FOCUS

The focus here will be on children occupying spaces in a group of 3 to 6 children while playing in order to understand on a larger scale what does this social group tend to prefer in a school environment.

OBSERVATIONS

In order to deduce generic observation, children have been looked at through the parameters and categorized according to the highly prevailing tendencies to further derive conclusions. Tendency to occupy open/semi-open central spaces As the amount of children increase, children tend to occupy spaces that allow the act of playing. This requires a sufficient amount of space because of which they tend to occupy spaces that are more central in nature. Tendency to see & be seen and hear & be heard It is important for the child to choose a location in a way that they can establish certain connections. In this case, the children are observed to occupy locations from where it is possible for other children to view and hear them while making sure they can see and hear others in the central spaces. Tendency to occupy semi-enclosed natural forms Children observed in this group tend to occupy spaces that provide a certain degree of enclosure while exposing them to a certain extent at the same time. In this scenario, it is largely observed that children tend to occupy semi-enclosed spaces where the enclosure is provided by natural forms. Tendency to engage with flat surfaces In the case of children occupying spaces in groups of few, it is noted that the children tend to engage in the open expanse of flat surfaces as they allow certain kind of movement. Tendency to take complete or partial shelter Children in this category are observed to occupy spaces that are both partially and completely shaded. For the ones that are partially shaded, natural shading is preferred whereas for the ones that are completely shaded, built forms are preferred. Tendency to recognize architectural elements as anchors Children tend to find physical anchors to a space that act as a refuge. In this category, these anchors are noted to majorly be architectural elements that the children find playful in nature. 73


GROUP OF MANY EATING SPACES AND ITS ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES 74


GROUPS OF MANY EATING SPACES

FOCUS

The focus here will be on children occupying spaces in a group larger than 6 children while eating in order to understand on a larger scale what does this social group tend to prefer in a school environment.

OBSERVATIONS

In order to deduce generic observation, children have been looked at through the parameters and categorized according to the highly prevailing tendencies to further derive conclusions. Tendency to occupy open/semi-open central spaces As the amount of children increase, children tend to occupy spaces that allow the act of playing. This requires a sufficient amount of space because of which they tend to occupy spaces that are more central in nature. Tendency to see & be seen and hear & be heard It is important for the child to choose a location in a way that they can establish certain connections. In this case, the children are observed to occupy locations from where it is possible for other children to view and hear them while making sure they can see and hear others in the central spaces. Tendency to occupy semi-enclosed built & natural forms Children observed in this group tend to occupy spaces that provide a certain degree of enclosure while exposing them to a certain extent at the same time. In most cases, a balance between man-made and natural forms of shelter is observed. Tendency to engage with flat surfaces In the case of children occupying spaces in groups of few, it is noted that the children tend to engage in the open expanse of flat surfaces as they allow certain kind of movement. Tendency to take complete or partial shelter Children in this category are observed to occupy spaces that are both partially and completely shaded. For the ones that are partially shaded, natural shading is preferred whereas for the ones that are completely shaded, built forms are preferred. Tendency to recognize architectural elements as anchors Children tend to find physical anchors to a space that act as a refuge. In this category, these anchors are noted to majorly be architectural elements that the children use to sit on or lean against.

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GROUP OF MANY PLAYING SPACES AND ITS ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES 76


GROUPS OF MANY PLAYING SPACES

FOCUS

The focus here will be on children occupying spaces in a group larger than 6 children while playing in order to understand on a larger scale what does this social group tend to prefer in a school environment.

OBSERVATIONS

In order to deduce generic observation, children have been looked at through the parameters and categorized according to the highly prevailing tendencies to further derive conclusions. Tendency to occupy open/semi-open central spaces As the amount of children increase, children tend to occupy spaces that allow the act of playing. This requires a sufficient amount of space because of which they tend to occupy spaces that are more central in nature. Tendency to see & be seen and hear & be heard It is important for the child to choose a location in a way that they can establish certain connections. In this case, the children are observed to occupy locations from where it is possible for other children to view and hear them while making sure they can see and hear others in the central spaces. Tendency to occupy semi-enclosed natural forms Children observed in this group tend to occupy spaces that provide a certain degree of enclosure while exposing them to a certain extent at the same time. In this scenario, it is largely observed that children tend to occupy semi-enclosed spaces where the enclosure is provided by natural forms. Tendency to engage with flat surfaces In the case of children occupying spaces in groups of few, it is noted that the children tend to engage in the open expanse of flat surfaces as they allow certain kind of movement. Tendency to take complete or partial shelter Children in this category are observed to occupy spaces that are both partially and completely shaded. For the ones that are partially shaded, natural shading is preferred whereas for the ones that are completely shaded, built forms are preferred. Tendency to recognize architectural elements as anchors Children tend to find physical anchors to a space that act as a refuge. In this category, these anchors are noted to majorly be architectural elements that the children find playful in nature. 77


SOCIAL STRUCTURE OF A CHILD’S BUILT ENVIRONMENT


HOW?

The research aims at understanding what goes behind the preferences of space in children. In order to understand this, children have been looked at as entities forming social groups by the means of interaction with fellow children in a particular space. The previous part on exploring spatial preferences, carefully looks into each situation a child engages itself into. With a lens of the earlier discussed parameters of analysis, these situations are categorised and summarized to further generate a discussion towards the tendencies of preferences of children in various social groups.

INTERDEPENDENCY

Through the extracted observations for each social group, it is clearly understood that children tend to chose spaces according to their feeling of sociability. How a child occupies a space has a larger impact on the social structure of the built environment of the child and hence has its implications on how one wants to build the space around them. The child is observed to be extremely self aware when it comes to one understanding on building a social structure. The decisions taken by children before choosing a certain space may or may not be intuitive but they are surely a result of a systematic process of analysing the impacts of the action in the larger social structure of the entire school environment. For example, a child feeling less sociable could occupy a space satisfying its needs as an individual but at the same time keeping into account the presence of peers forming various social groups of interaction, the child would chose a certain position or orientation to establish a particular connection to the larger social structure. When each social group present in the school environment tends to occupy a space based on multiple ideas and options of interaction possible, a complex web of social inter-relations that are dependent on the specificity of each child present in the environment is formed. Hence forming a social structure unique to its own nature of existence. These inter-relations along with the children being self aware of their preferences makes the entire system inter dependent and hence is purely a result of an action being a reaction to another action.

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SPACES, SOCIABILITY & CHILD NEEDS


TOWARDS REASONING

Children chose the spaces that they occupy and have specific preferences as to what a space should offer. This has been made clear in the earlier part by going into the depth of what children tend to prefer. It is important to understand that all of these preferences could have a larger spectrum of how to satisfy a child’s need. The child prefers a space directly or indirectly to come in terms with a particular need to be satisfied. Each child according to various factors could feel various degrees of sociability. This part of the research attempts to understand the larger implications of a preferred space on a child’s needs. In order to get a definite understanding, each parameter of analysis is looked at individually to understand its implications on each social group. In the case of each parameter, the kind of inferences differ from case to case, though significantly leaving a difference in the way children occupy spaces according the social groups they are a part of. As the observations state earlier, it can be concluded that there is a notable difference in the way One person locates themselves in comparison to that of Group of Many or that of One to One or Group of Few. Each have their own specifications they stand up to prove. This part of the research focuses on individual parameters and their implications in order to have a clearer understanding of what children prefer.

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THROUGH THE LENS OF PARAMETERS


SHIFTING SOCIAL ZONES EXPLORING LOCATION THROUGH SOCIAL ZONING

The aspect of Location & Positioning aims to understand how children in different social groups position themselves in order to achieve a certain outcome that may relate to their sociability. How one positions themselves also talks about ones willingness to establish connections or ones attempt towards being a part of a larger entity. Children are observed to locate themselves at almost every possible locations provided by the architect. This is a result of the children as a larger entity being extremely exploratory to tread into newer possibilities. Though it is a common practice for all social groups of children to locate themselves in open or semi-open spaces during recess, there is a difference in the internal zoning locations of these groups. Through the observations stated earlier, it is noted that children who are by themselves or with one another person locate themselves in more peripheral spaces as compared to the other central spaces. Where as, the children in groups of few or many tend to locate themselves mostly in more central areas of a larger space. In the context of this research, peripheral spaces refers to the edges or the thresholds in between significant central spaces. One may argue that the children who are by themselves choose to be by themselves in order to allow a certain amount of freedom to shift from one social zone to another. This social shifting from one zone to another can be made possible only if these children are located in spaces that allow certain flexibility, hence peripheral spaces are chosen. Peripheries have a tendency to merge into its neighbouring entities and so it becomes easier for the child to shift into a different nature of social interaction. It is also observed that larger groups have a tendency to occupy spaces that are central in nature. One may argue that larger groups of children establish a certain internal interaction that would not be disturbed by any external factors and hence could be noted as a balanced entity that would not need a shift in their social zone from time to time. Due to this, central spaces that are unified in nature could be preferred more by groups of few or many. Parameters such as location & positioning also has implications through the activity prevailing in the space. There is a notable difference in how children occupy space while Eating as compared to Playing. Through the observations, it could be said that children tend to occupy more central spaces while eating, whereas during play, no significant preference is observed. As eating is a activity that requires the child to be in a specific position, certain physical attributes may be a necessity and hence certain spaces are chosen. Where as play as an activity is highly versatile and challenges the imagination of the child, it can prevail in almost any given physical location.

83


The parameter of Connection & Orientation aims to understand how children in different social groups position themselves in order to establish certain connections with various other entities surrounding them in the environment. How one orients themselves also talks about ones willingness to establish connections or ones attempt towards being a part of a larger entity. Children are observed to orient themselves in various ways that allow them to engage with almost every aspect of the built form. This is a result of the children as a larger entity being extremely exploratory to tread into newer possibilities. Children of all social groups tend to orient themselves in such a manner that allows them a certain amount of visibility in order to know what is happening in their surrounding. Through the observations stated earlier, it is noted that all social groups always orient themselves in such a position from where everyone can see them and they can see everyone. Though in certain One person cases there were situations where the child was oriented in a way that allows the child to see the others but the child is not directly visible to the other social groups. Even though all social groups tend to See & be seen, the degree of being seen varies in each group. While Group of few & many orient to see & be seen completely, the one person & one to one person groups tend to see & partially be seen. This is a rare scenario where the children are directly visible but are oriented in such a manner that does not gain any attention towards them. One may argue, that as children in One person & One to One person groups tend to be on their own, try to not catch any attention in order to maintain their social group. The children here are willingly a part of a social group that allows them a certain amount of privacy and secrecy and hence are not willing to sacrifice on these aspects by gaining attention. While the smaller groups of children tend to orient in order to maintain their privacy and secrecy, the larger groups of few & many, tend to not only be seen but also hear and be heard by other social groups in the school environment. One may argue, that groups of few & many tend to establish a complete connection that incorporates being seen and being heard in order to establish a certain command over the space occupied. The concept of gangs in children has been studied by various psychologist and has been a popular phenomenon where children form groups with fellow children with whom they feel safer. These gangs tend to keep distance from other individuals though are always in focus due to the need to be seen and heard. In general, the implications of Connection & Orientation on children is observed through the various social groups, though the implications on activities

84

IDEA OF BEING SEEN ESTABLISHING CONNECTIONS THROUGH ORIENTATION


SENSE OF SECURITY UNDERSTANDING ENCLOSURE THROUGH BUILT & NATURAL FORMS

The parameter of Enclosure & Exposure aims to understand how children in different social groups prefer spaces in order to establish certain connections with various other entities surrounding them in the environment. How one chooses a space also talks about ones willingness to establish connections or ones attempt towards being a part of a larger entity. Children are observed to occupy spaces in various ways that allow them to engage with the aspect of enclosure and exposure. The children choose their favourable space also on the basis of the sense of security and comfort. This sense of comfort is derived either from the presence of certain individuals that the child can relate to or to the immediate built or natural surroundings that provide a certain amount of enclosure and exposure to the child. Children often tend to find spaces that have a balance of enclosure and exposure, though the range of the same is found to vary in each social group. While most of the social groups tend to occupy spaces that can be defined as semi-enclosed, the elements forming the semi-enclosed space also creates an impact on the children occupying the space. Through the observations stated earlier, it is noted that social groups of few & many who engage in the act of play are the only ones who tend to occupy spaces that are semi-enclosed by natural elements where-as most of the other social groups occupy spaces that are semi-enclosed by built forms or a mix of built and natural forms. One may argue, that play as an activity can be more interactive if prevailing in more natural spaces and hence the children engaging in play with larger groups tend to occupy semi-enclosed spaces that use natural elements to create enclosure.

OPENNESS & PLAYFULNESS GROUND AS A CATALYST OF SOCIAL INTERACTIVENESS

The parameter of Surface & Ground aims at understanding how children in different social groups prefer spaces in order to establish certain relationships with various elements in the environment surrounding them. How one chooses a space also talks about ones willingness to establish connections or ones attempt towards being a part of a larger entity. Children are observed to occupy spaces in various ways that allow them to engage with interactiveness of the surface & ground. Children’s preferences relating to the kind of surface they occupy has been observed not only to be a result of the activity prevailing in the social group, but also the kind of social group occupying the space. Through the observations, it is noted that children occupying spaces as One to One or One person groups tend to choose spaces that are undulated and hence is more playful in nature. Where as, larger groups of few & many tend towards flatter grounds in order to allow themselves a certain movement and openness. One may argue that due to the sheer number of children, it is easier for smaller groups 85


to explore the interactiveness of an undulated ground as compared to the larger groups. An undulated ground is not only interactive and playful but also is challenging for the children. It tests their abilities to cope with the application of a function with the differences in levels. The degree of this challenge might be good for all children but when children are looked at as social groups, these challenges tend to become more difficult for larger groups to engage themselves with. The ground here can be looked at as a catalyst of a certain social activity that the child associates by the character of the ground. Each type of ground suffices for a certain type of social activity that it can support. A man-made undulation allows a certain degree of communication while a flat ground encourages activities relating to play. In a school environment, it is important to have a variety of grounds in order to allow flexibility in the child’s engagement with a social interaction.

The parameter of Sunlight & Shading aims at understanding how children in different social groups prefer spaces in order to establish certain relationships with various elements in the environment surrounding them. How one chooses a space also talks about ones willingness to establish connections or ones attempt towards being a part of a larger entity. Children are observed to occupy spaces in various ways that allow them to engage with the play of sunlight & shading offered by the built and natural forms that create the environment surrounding them. This is a result of the children as a larger entity being extremely exploratory to tread into newer possibilities. The nature of spaces that the children choose have implications to whether the spaces are shaded or not. It is important for the child to feel climatically sound in order to occupy a certain space. Through the observations stated earlier, the children occupying spaces alone or with one other child, tend to occupy spaces that are completely shaded. Where as, larger groups of few & many tend to place themselves in spaces where there is complete or partial shade. In such a scenario, not only does the shade matter but also the entity providing the shade matters. For example, in most cases of play, partial shading is provided by natural elements as compared to cases of eating where the major shade provider is the built form. One may argue, that as the activity of play includes movement and a certain degree of openness, hence children tend to play around natural elements. A sense of comfort is essential for the child to retain a certain activity. Be it eating or playing, the child seeks to be climatically aware in order to find a comfortable environment to further practice the act of eating or playing. The aspect of Physical Anchors aims to understand how children 86

SENSE OF COMFORT SHADING THROUGH BUILT & NATURAL FORMS


ELEMENTAL ANCHORS EXPLORING REFUGE WHILE SEEKING ARCHITECTURAL OR NATURAL ANCHORS

in different social groups engage themselves with physical entities in their immediate surrounding. How one positions themselves also talks about ones willingness to establish connections or ones attempt towards being a part of a larger entity. Children are observed to locate themselves with various physical elements in the environment - architectural & natural. Children while choosing their favourable space, tend to identify anchors that bind these spaces and would attract the child to find refuge amongst them. These physical anchors are important as depending on their functionality and scale, various social groups would occupy them differently. Through the observations stated earlier, children of all varying social groups tend to prefer architectural elements as physical anchors as compared to natural anchors. One may argue that this may be a result of architectural elements being versatile in nature and also different kinds of architectural elements engage with the children differently. Physical Anchors as a parameter also have implications on the activity prevailing in the space. There is a notable difference in how children occupy space while Eating as compared to while Playing. It is noted that children who choose a physical anchor while eating tend to occupy anchors that allow a certain amount of anthropometrics for the child to sit on or lean against. Where as while playing, the child should be able to engage with the element in an interactive manner.

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CONCLUSION


Children chose spaces differently than adults. The research aimed to understand and analyse what kind of spaces do children prefer and what goes behind the process of preference for the child. Analysing each situation through various parameters as done in the previous part, gives important insight on how children prefer spaces and what affects this preference. When one dwells deeper into each situation a child is put in and learns about how a child decides to be in a certain space through the feeling of sociability, one gets a clearer understanding of how children form their own social structure in the built environment. With this understanding one could possibly have a broader spectrum of the kind of spaces for children in order to facilitate the development of an interdependent social structure. In order to gain an understanding wholesome enough to design for children, the research looks at children as separate entities engaging in social interaction. This division while analysing brings a clearer understanding of what each social group during a specific activity prefer in their surrounding environment. Each situation in these social groups are further observed with a lens of parameters derived from a prior understanding of how a child perceives space through Piagets’s comprehensive literature and the formation of social systems through Hertzbergger’s understanding of the role of physical environment in developing a social space. These parameters were extracted also through real life experiments in which adults describe their favourable or favourite spaces as children in order to have larger spectrum of filters to analyse spaces for children. Considering the factor of sociability as the key to further look into social zones occupying different social groups, the findings attempt to relate these preferences to various social needs of children in the built environment. For instance, there is a relative understanding of children occupying spaces that could be categorized as thresholds or peripheries while they are by themselves and this has been further understood as a resultant of the children trying to be in spaces that allow a certain flexibility in the social structure. Each action a child takes towards choosing a social surrounding can be looked at through the lens of the what in the physical built environment can impact the social system of the larger body of children in the school environment to further create a balance in the social system along with satisfying the needs of the individual. The clarity of spatial zoning and its implications on the social structure is well understood by the children and hence they are found to have an extremely sophisticated understanding of each spatial element being a catalyst in generating interactions within various social groups. This understanding is incorporated in children through various experiences through early childhood and hence children are known to adjust themselves according to the situational arrangement of space. 89


In conclusion, children are observed to understand and use the space provided in a manner much meaningful than perceived. Through the course of this research, many important observations on the relationship of spatial qualities and children were found. As discussed earlier, the tendency of children to deconstruct architectural spaces in order to use them as a catalyst towards social interaction were observed in various situations. Through the cases discussed earlier along with extracted inference a few key points could be highlighted. These key points could be further considered while designing spaces for children.

Flexibility in Spatial Qualities Children tend to be a part of various social groups at various times and situations. When a child is found to be a part of a social group of larger number, it is not necessary that they would be a part of a similar social group at every given point. The same child may have a tendency to find refuge in isolation too. At the same point, it is noted that in a specific architectural setting, it is not necessary for all children to feel equally sociable or the other way round at the same time. Different children choose to be in different social groups at different times and architecture should be able to provide for the same. Hence, a need for a variety of spatial qualities that not just support but encourage a multiple social setting amongst children arises. The larger setting of the school in this case should be flexible enough to hold various situations in which the child can engage with a social group. A child feeling comparatively less social should be able be on their own and at the same time a child feeling more sociable should be able to engage with various social groups keeping the larger social structure intact. Flexibility in school environments can be merely achieved by keeping in mind all social groups of children and designing spaces outside the classrooms in a manner that allows a certain degree of flexibility. It is not necessary to design individual areas for individual social group but the overall design of the spaces can incorporate smaller pockets of spaces that can facilitate different social settings at different times.

Multiplicity of free spaces Free spaces are the spaces that do not comprise of any particular function attached to it but are designed specifically for people to engage in various activities. These include semi-open pavilions, courtyards and open playgrounds in school environments. Children tend to occupy spaces in not more than ten children per group. This has been noted throughout the research and has its direct implication on the size of free spaces provided for the children to engage with. As children are observed to be groups not larger than ten children, 90


the space required for the group to engage with along with a specific activity is not that large and hence instead of one unified free space, a design that incorporates multiple free spaces of smaller sizes would be more favorable for children. This would not only allow children to occupy spaces according to the social group they belong in but also provide a range of variety of different spaces that one could choose from. When most schools today leave a huge chunk of open land in the name of play area, it would be better to optimise the space and use land strategically in order to encourage a range of sociability in children at school. Multiplicity of free spaces can be achieved by taking into consideration the larger organization of spaces in the school environment. By planning the functional spaces such as classrooms, auditoriums and toilets in a way that allows multiple buffer points that can become refuge for various social groups, multiple free spaces that are smaller in scale but varied in nature can be obtained.

Engagement with architectural Elements Children while occupying a space try to engage themselves with elements in the built environment. This engagement can be in the form of play which can be simply for occupancy. Children tend to establish a relation with the built and natural elements in manners different than adults. A touch of playfulness is found in the way children engage with these elements. At various situations children are found to engage with elements of architecture in a re-imagined manner, something that the architect would not have accounted for. With such engagement of children with the built elements, the need for elements designed specially to encourage engagement arises. For instance, a series of steps are not always used as a medium of attaining height but could also be used as a medium of attaining a feeling of excitement for the child by re-imagining the steps as a game developed through engagements at various levels. Similarly, each architectural element in the built space could be designed in a manner that allows a certain amount of imagination and at the same time challenges the child to creatively find a use of the same. With appropriate anthropometrics and gestures that act as a catalyst for building a relation between the built and the child, elements that the children can engage with can be designed. Engagement with architectural elements can be assured by taking into consideration elements not only as mediums of functional requirement but also as ones that generate an interaction with and amongst children.

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Spaces for children are designed by numerous architects around the nation today. With the government & private organizations taking over the field of education, providing new schools with facilities and amenities of various sorts, the quality of schools and other spaces designed for children in the country should be on a rise. Sadly enough the larger understanding of a space designed for children in our country is referred by ‘disneyfication’ of a space. The term Disneyfication describes the transformation of a society to resemble the theme parks of the Walt Disney Corporation. This phenomenon has taken over most of the spaces designed for children and has been endorsed as a method of making a space for children. Children have an extremely sophisticated understanding of space and its attributes and associations with social structures. This understanding of how a space is used to generate or establish connections and recognizing other spaces as catalyst of social structures helps children form their unique social structures. As designers, it is important for us to dwell deeper into how children use space and understand how a child can be self aware about its surroundings. It is important to design for children in a manner that facilitates their being and encourages them towards a wholesome development. As spaces are understood as catalysts, it is important for the architect to understand the responsibility and not just fulfil requirements but also do justice to the same. The role of architecture in child development has been defined and it surely isn’t as simple as painting a few walls and furniture in primary colours. These responsibilities are crucial in the development of each child. Only by taking into consideration certain aspects of design, better spaces for children can be designed. A little extra effort by the professionals can make a much larger impact on the way the future shapes itself. For the child, a water tank is not just a water tank and a tree is not just a tree. It is the beginning of a little conversation or an attempt to not have one. It is the means to tread into newer possibilities and so it should be for architects as well.

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IN CONTEXT OF TODAY & IN FOCUS OF TOMORROW


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APPENDIX


MAPPING THROUGH THE LENS OF SOCIAL ZONING

The three cases of school environments selected have been looked at through the lens of social grouping in order to understand how preferences vary according to the spaces and the grouping. As children here are observed to locate themselves in a particular social group, with the use of generic activity mapping, children have been identified as firstly, a part of the larger environment and secondly as a part of a specific social group. The mapping has been done specifically at recess time as that is the only time in all three cases when the children use the entire school environment without being instructed by any teachers or guides. They are considered to be free of any rules to follow which gives them a free hand to occupy various spaces based purely on their own will. As the mapping during the recess, the major activities during this period of time are Eating & Playing. Hence, the zoning is mapped through the differentiation in the activity of the children. As discussed earlier, the children are identified by the social group they occupy starting from single occupancy to large groups. Each school is looked at through the lens of social zoning while Eating & Playing. The diagram bellow is a key to read the social zoning maps. The shades of colour represent the zones that different social groups occupy while engaging in certain activities in each case.

ONE PERSON ZONE

ONE TO ONE PERSON ZONE

GROUP OF FEW ZONE

GROUP OF MANY ZONE

Note: All the data in the social zoning maps isn’t absolute. The sizes of each zone is relative one another and is according to the number of children occupying these zones at various days in the recess. These zones have been exaggerated at certain places to be made visible and help in discussion. 95


SOCIAL ZONING WHILE EATING AT REDBRICKS 96


SOCIAL ZONING WHILE PLAYING AT REDBRICKS 97


SOCIAL ZONING WHILE EATING AT C.N. 98


SOCIAL ZONING WHILE PLAYING AT C.N. 99


SOCIAL ZONING WHILE EATING AT RIVERSIDE 100


SOCIAL ZONING WHILE PLAYING AT RIVERSIDE 101


BIBLIOGRAPHY


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Scannell, Leila, and Robert Gifford. “Defining Place Attachment: A Tripartite Organizing Framework”. Journal of Environmental Psychology 30.1 (2010): 1-10. Web.

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and we play endlessly

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Profile for Aman Amin

Behind the water tank, under the tree  

Behind the water tank, under the tree  

Profile for amanamin
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