Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture by Christian Norberg-Schulz

By Christian Norberg-Schulz

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These two notions cannot be separated, but together comprise the notion of man housing himself; dwelling is building. (Habraken, 1975: 18) Thus, the acts of alteration and extension to mass housing environments would appear to be as inevitable as that night follows day: MORE THAN JUST A DWELLING 41 It has to do… with the sudden urge to change as well as the stubborn desire to conserve and keep. It is related to the need to create one’s own environment, but also to share that of others or to follow a fashion.

1 Table 13. Age and establishment of heads of main households Medians (and IQRs) Bangladesh Egypt Ghana Zimbabwe 30 (25, 38) 30 (24, 36) 30 (22, 31) 29 (21, 37) 30 (13, 39) 29 (23,35) 20 (9, 28) 45 (40, 51) 55 (45, 56) 60 (50, 65) 59 (48, 66) 52 (40, 65) 54 (42, 61) 48 (34, 60) 49 (41, 57) - 43 (33, 53) - 41 (32, 54) - 27 (20, 31) 30 (22, 31) 30 (20, 40) 30 (13, 39) 25 (17, 32) 20 (9, 28) 9 (2, 18) 5 (0, 17) 5 (0, 14) 6 (0, 12) Age at moving into house (years): Transformers Non-transformers Age of head (years): Transformers Non-transformers Age at first transformation (years): Transformers Non-transformers 38 (31, 44) - Length of stay in house (years): Transformers 15 (11, 19) Non-transformers Length of time in current employment (years): Transformers Non-transformers 15 (7, 22) 27 (10, 33) 30 (10, 34) In most of the samples, transformation began when the household heads were in their late thirties and early forties, eight to 14 years at the medians after they had moved in.

This analysis demonstrates that transformers are responding at least partly to the inadequacies of the original dwellings for the main households. The comparatively large original dwellings in Zimbabwe are the exception as the main households seem to have provided themselves with little extra space through the transformations process. Elsewhere, main households would have had only two-thirds to threequarters as much habitable space as they have now. As the main household represents those who would occupy the dwelling even if it had not been transformed, it seems that at least some of the impetus to extend has probably come from the inadequacy of the original.

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