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When good design intentions do (not) meet users’ expectations

Salama, Ashraf M (2009) When good design intentions do (not) meet users’ expectations. Magaz Magazine (107). pp. 104-111.

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To explain their work to others, architects typically develop statements that clarify their design philosophy, intentions and the imperatives by which they pursued their design tasks. In many cases however, these statements fail to reflect or address a major component - that is PEOPLE or USERS. They are basically written - and the project still on paper - to highlight the merits of the design while illustrating the skills of the designer or the design team as manifested in the final articulation of the building(s), the built form. In generic terms, architects in these statements emphasize their complete awareness of cultural, environmental, and perhaps economic constraints, but USERS are always in the shadow taking a back seat. If they are addressed, it is only in superficial terms. As this argument may be seen by some architects and designers as arbitrary or too general, I reflect here on Qatar University Campus in terms of what were the design philosophy and intentions as stated by its architect and how USERS comprehend it, see it, and actually use it.