The meaning of the meaning of houses: An interdisciplinary study

  • YEAR
    Del Castillo, Nicolo
    Corpuz-Mendoza, Aurora
    2010 Conference Papers


ABSTRACT: This study uses an interdisciplinary framework from Architecture and Psychology to
investigate the meanings Filipinos ascribe to houses. The “meaning” of house is deemed important to
understanding how people behave in their built environments. Using convenience sampling, 124 city
residents from randomly selected informal communities, housing projects and gated subdivisions were
interviewed, while 16 respondents participated in focus group discussions. Content analysis of
descriptions and preferences in relation to houses yielded 38 dimensions that indicated the meaning of
house is organized into 6 main themes: Inside the house, house as Building, Lot as part of the house,
house in a Community, Location of the house, and house as Self. The first five themes suggest a
schema of house that begins with internal spaces, expanding outwards to more external spaces such
as the lot, neighbourhood, and eventually to the physical links of the house to schools, markets,
churches and places of recreation and employment. The Self theme represents value dimensions that
reflect relationships between self and house. The Self theme is not only central to the meaning of
“house”, but links together all other dimensions. Data also suggests differences in the meaning of
houses across types of participants.


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