12th International Space Syntax Symposium, Beijing, China, 8 - 13 July 2019, pp.281
Libraries have had many spatial transformations throughout the history in terms of their meaning and configuration. Transforming technical aspects, architectural pattern and social character have also changed the content, user profile, and spatial needs of libraries that all resulted in changing spatial character. Although the main issue based on the history of function in libraries is sheltering documents and books for noble people, today they are used as spaces of social interaction or public spaces that people can spend their leisure time with many activities besides accessing information resources. Also, the shifting building technology and changes on architectural programming introduced new methods and understandings to spatial characteristics. As a result, today library buildings contain flexible or soft programmed spaces for the flow of activities in such a flexible way. Therefore, spatial morphology is critical to serve users’ changing needs. However, architectural programming may be a limiting factor of spatial usages in library buildings, which still have some hard-programmed character or strict rules in order to act in coherence with their historical roots and some proper functions. In this study, the relationships between spatial preferences, architectural programming and spatial configuration are examined in university library buildings of Istanbul. For this study, both observation of behavioral patterns of visitors and syntactical analysis based on spatial recognition of space are used in order to collect data from five different cases that will be compared with each other. There are three main steps for collecting data and two steps for evaluating and comparing them. First of all, architectural programming of floors through 5 cases are identified according to distributions of functions. Secondly, configuration of floor plans based on morphology and order of space are analyzed through the evaluation of convex spaces, integration, mean depth and circularity values that reflect the character in geometry of space. Both accessibility and visibility are main investigation areas in that sense and their comparatively discussed character will be the key to the understanding of spatial preference and transforming function and configuration of space through different cases. Thirdly, spatial preference patterns are explored through observations based on several days and hours of the week in all of five cases. Lastly, collected data is evaluated by comparing spatial preferences - architectural programming, and spatial preferences - spatial morphology relationship. All of the cases as analyzed university libraries are designed in open plan configurations with analogical functional contents in changing capacities. They also have two different configurational orders, where three of the cases that also smaller in area have central systems in compact plan layouts and the remaining two that are also larger in terms of area have axially developing character and systems for circulation. In this research, significant correlations between the spatial preference patterns of users based on behaviors of users and spatial configuration results based on space syntax analysis such as integration, mean depth and circularity analysis of the buildings’ floor plans are found. Results show that users move more flexibly in buildings with axial systems while they mostly move in convenience through the buildings with central systems. It is also found that architectural programmes are more effective on spatial preferences in central and compact plan layouts; which means that the libraries with this plan layout can be classified as hard programmed while the libraries with axial circulation system can be classified as soft programmed. In this context, the characteristics of configuration is effective on spatial preferences in university libraries. Although the cases have flexible spatial configurations, it is discussed that circulation system is a strong determinant on users’ spatial behaviors and spatial preferences are affected by architectural programming of these library buildings. As a concluding remark, this study provided further empirical data about current spatial behaviors in library buildings.
Keywords: Libraries, Architectural Programming, Morphology, User Behavior, Configuration