The The Effect of Architectural Forms on Aesthetic Response : Study Case

Abstract = 391 times | PDF = 102 times

Main Article Content

Lawand Kamal Othman Alan Faraydoon Ali


This research seeks to identify building exterior characteristics that are best liked, most pleasing, rated beautiful and exciting by architects. A methodology based on mixed research methods was developed. The study sought architect’s preferences for twelve different public buildings. Analysis of 68 responses to the survey questionnaire identified several building’s exteriors characteristics that were consistently most preferred aesthetically. Four formal attributes. Complexity, Order, Ambiguity, and Potency, each of which was measured by three variables, and one variable added to the ambiguity, so a total of 13 formal (cognitive / perceptual) variables were included in the study. The effects of these attributes on affective responses, i.e., Arousal and Evaluation, each of which was measured by three variables, were examined. The analysis of the scatter chart identifies the level of association between two dependent variables, aesthetic response and formal features. A medium to a strong relationship has been recognized between aesthetic response with moderate complexity and moderate to high levels of order and organization also with near high levels of novelty and mystery. Though, a weak correlation between the remaining of the dependent variables indicates a thin relationship. The higher the level of ambiguity in the exterior, the more excited the receiver. The higher the classification of mystery and novelty, the higher the degrees of excitement by the respondent. There is also a strong correlation between higher levels of polysemy and ratings of arousal, exciting and stimulation. The aesthetic evaluation (beauty) of the building depends and is influenced mainly by the preference of pleasure and admiration, and these three variables are affected by other variables such as ambiguity, complexity, and order. The aesthetic response is a complex process where each variable is affected by another variable, which ultimately leads to a comprehensive aesthetic evaluation.


aesthetic response, environmental aesthetics, aesthetic preference, perception, cognition


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details


[1] O. E. Dictionary, “Oxford: Oxford UP,” 2011.
[2] D. R. Atkinson and D. Alpert, “Perceived Gender and Attitude Similarity and Counselor Ratings.,” J. Coll. Student Pers., vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 319–324, 1981.
[3] M. Glick and E. Zigler, “Self-image: A cognitive-developmental approach,” Dev. self, pp. 1–53, 1985.
[4] D. Schacter, D. Gilbert, and D. Wegner, “Sensation and perception,” Charles Linsmeiser Psychol. Worth Publ. p, vol. 158, p. 159, 2011.
[5] A. Rapoport, “Symbolism and environmental design,” J. Archit. Educ., vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 58–63, 1974.
[6] Y.-F. Tuan, Space and place: The perspective of experience. U of Minnesota Press, 1977.
[7] A. Rapoport, Human aspects of urban form: towards a man—environment approach to urban form and design. Elsevier, 2016.
[8] C. Jencks, “Semiology and architecture,” Signs, Symb. Archit. Chichester, UK John Wiley Sons, 1969.
[9] M. W. Eysenck, A handbook of cognitive psychology. L. Erlbaum Associates, 1984.
[10] M. McMordie, “Roger Scruton - The Aesthetics of architecture.pdf,” Society of Architectural Historians Journal, vol. 40. pp. 85–86, 1981, [Online]. Available:
[11] T. E. Parsons and E. A. Shils, “Toward a general theory of action.,” 1951.
[12] C. Norberg-Schulz, “Intentionsin Architecture,” Oslo Univ., 1965.
[13] E. Gibson and N. Rader, “Attention,” in Attention and cognitive development, Springer, 1979, pp. 1–21.
[14] T. M. Newcomb, “An approach to the study of communicative acts.,” Psychol. Rev., vol. 60, no. 6, p. 393, 1953.
[15] A. G. Baumgarten, “Aesthetica I-II,” Frankfurt am Oder, Kleyb, 1750.
[16] S. Charters, “Aesthetic products and aesthetic consumption: A review,” Consum. Mark. Cult., vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 235–255, 2006.
[17] J. D. Porteous, Environmental aesthetics: Ideas, politics and planning. Psychology Press, 1996.
[18] I. Y. ÇAKCI and H. T. D. ÇELEM, “Peyzaj planlama çal{\i}{\c{s}}malar{\i}nda görsel peyzaj de{\u{g}}erlendirmesine yönelik bir yöntem ara{\c{s}}t{\i}rmas{\i},” Ankara Üniversitesi Fen Bilimleri Enstitüsü Peyzaj Mimarl{\i}{\u{g}}{\i} Anabilim Dal{\i}, 2007.
[19] A. G. Baumgarten, “Aesthetica (1750),” Hildesheim Olms, 1986.
[20] G. Dickie, Introduction to aesthetics: An analytic approach. Oxford University Press New York, 1997.
[21] P. Railton, “Aesthetic value, moral value, and the ambitions of naturalism,” Aesthet. ethics Essays Intersect., pp. 59–105, 1998.
[22] D. E. Berlyne, Studies in the new experimental aesthetics: Steps toward an objective psychology of aesthetic appreciation. Hemisphere, 1974.
[23] I. Kant, “Critique of Judgment, trans. Werner S. Pluhar,” Indianap. Hackett, p. 183, 1987.
[24] A. E. Stamps, “All buildings great and small: Design review from high rise to houses,” Environ. Behav., vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 402–420, 1994.
[25] R. Kaplan and S. Kaplan, The experience of nature: A psychological perspective. CUP Archive, 1989.
[26] J. L. Nasar, “Urban design aesthetics: The evaluative qualities of building exteriors,” Environ. Behav., vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 377–401, 1994.
[27] S. Kaplan, R. Kaplan, and J. S. Wendt, “Rated preference and complexity for natural and urban visual material,” Percept. Psychophys., vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 354–356, 1972.
[28] T. R. Herzog, S. Kaplan, and R. Kaplan, “The prediction of preference for familiar urban places,” Environ. Behav., vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 627–645, 1976.
[29] D. O. Hebb, “Drives and the CNS (conceptual nervous system).,” Psychol. Rev., vol. 62, no. 4, p. 243, 1955.
[30] D. B. Lindsley, “Emotion.,” 1951.
[31] J. L. Nasar, “The evaluative image of the city,” J. Am. Plan. Assoc., vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 41–53, 1990.
[32] D. Appleyard, “The environment as a social symbol: Within a theory of environmental action and perception,” J. Am. Plan. Assoc., vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 143–153, 1979.
[33] R. S. Lazarus and S. Folkman, Stress, appraisal, and coping. Springer publishing company, 1984.
[34] R. B. Zajonc, “Feeling and thinking: Preferences need no inferences.,” Am. Psychol., vol. 35, no. 2, p. 151, 1980.
[35] S. Kaplan, G. Fitzpatrick, and M. Docherty, “Cognition and environment,” 1982.
[36] A. T. Purcell, “Environmental perception and affect: A schema discrepancy model,” Environ. Behav., vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 3–30, 1986.
[37] G. Mandler, Mind and body: Psychology of emotion and stress. WW Norton & Company Incorporated, 1984.