Changing household pattern, the meaning and the use of home: Semantic and syntactic shifts of a century–old house and its journey through generations

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A home is more than just ‘a territorial core’ and not just ‘an ordering principle in space’. Home is a complex entity that defines and is defined by cultural, socio-demografic, psychological, political and economic factors. The household living in itself makes a house a ‘Home’, although house is a physical and static system, household has a living structure. Therefore, the house and the life embraced by itself build a dynamic system, which dimensions are culture, behavior, environment and time. In course of time, socio-cultural changes affect behavioral settings of households and changing household patterns alter use of homes. These interactions between household pattern and use of home have the vital importance for understanding of man-environment interaction system and grasping the transforming nature of architectural design practice. The main aim of this paper is to show that the design, the meaning, and the use of home are intimately related to a range of socio-cultural, behavioral and spatial dimensions and that all reflect reciprocal relations. Time is a crucial dimension for understanding the domestic space transformation. Grasping the meaning of domestic spaces’ essential dynamism is possible through understanding the use of home space and its spatial, socio-cultural and temporal orders. The paper will consist of four main chapters. Following the introduction, the second chapter covers a conceptual overview on the variables of the "Household Pattern-Use of Home" interaction system; which can be grouped in cultural, behavioral, environmental and temporal components. The theoretical approach to meaning and use of home will be based on the transactional perspective that "Home" is an integrative scheme that creates a bond between the person and the place. Home is also a set of interactions between the experience of the dwelling and the wider spatial, socio-cultural and temporal context. The third chapter includes a case study held on a traditional Turkish house and its users in “Eski Malatya” region which is an agro-town in Malatya, region of East-Anatolia. Interactions between changing household pattern and use of home have been studied in seven characteristic periods over 100 years. In this chapter, a syntactic examination on the change of fourth, fifth and sixth periods will also be focused. Since this research is based on previous study of Hülya Turgut, and Mete Ünügür (1997), the extended study will also focus on especially the changing semantic and syntactic pattern of fourth, fifth and sixth periods of the research including a 47 years period. By focusing to the transformation in meaning and the spatial organization of the house, changing integration and mean depth values on the ground floor of the configurational setting will be scrutinized with the semantic shifts. During these periods many dramatic socio-cultural and political changes occurred both in Turkey that are the first and second world wars; collapsing of the Ottoman Empire; foundation of a new state and nation; technological developments and finally urbanizatıon and globalization process. The case study explores the story of a house built in 1878 and left in 1982 reflecting all cultural, behavioral and spatial changes through the life-cycle of “Cumali Aga (who is the landlord of the area and the grandfather of the author) Family”. Finally, overlapping the data of space syntax (analysis of integration and mean depth) and the meaning of space (the change on behavioral settings) is important for the main discussion. How space syntax may be a tool to understand the changing patterns in the case of this paper is a major issue. As a concluding remark, results on the overlapping syntactic and semantic data will also be discussed for the identification of the future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event12th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2019 - Beijing, China
Duration: 8 Jul 201913 Jul 2019


Conference12th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Beijing JiaoTong University. All rights reserved.


  • Culture and space
  • Home and house
  • Meaning
  • Space syntax
  • Transformation


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