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Design intentions and users responses : assessing outdoor spaces of Qatar University Campus

Salama, Ashraf M. (2009) Design intentions and users responses : assessing outdoor spaces of Qatar University Campus. Open House International, 34 (1). pp. 82-93. ISSN 0168-2601

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Abstract

This paper explores the issue of design intentions versus users' reactions by conducting a post occupancy evaluation study. It introduces an assessment of the performance of Qatar University-QU campus outdoor spaces from users' perspective after it has been used and occupied for over 20 years. The assessment aims at understanding the mutual interaction process between the built environment exemplified by the physical characteristics of campus outdoor spaces and the needs of the university community exemplified by students, faculty, and staff. Therefore, the paper argues for the value of evaluating current campus outdoor spaces from users' perspective. It aims at defining problematic areas related to the utilization of current spaces-that are contrasted with the architect's design philosophy and intentions. The methodology adopted is multi-layered in nature and incorporates a wide variety of assessment techniques; including walk-through evaluation and direct observation, behavioral mapping, and survey questionnaires. The investigation reveals a number of problems that may hinder the performance of different types of QU campus users. The paper concludes that by recognizing how well university campus outdoor spaces respond to the needs of faculty, students, and staff, one can recommend ways of improving the outdoor environment necessary to facilitate the work and learning experiences of different users within the campus and the desired student-faculty interaction.