Architectural Judgements and Their Causes in Finnish and British Architects and Lay People
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Willis, Kirsti Kaarina
Architecture has a great impact on our well-being by inducing feelings ranging from boredom, depression, and even fear to inspiration and relaxation. This warrants research on the topic of what makes buildings attractive. The results of previous studies are mixed, but they indicate that architectural knowledge and cultural factors effect architectural judgements. The present study therefore concentrates on two variables: Nationality (British and Finnish) and professionality (architects and lay people). The experimental hypotheses were these: Firstly, people prefer familiar building styles to unfamiliar ones. Secondly, lay people like popular, more decorative styles more than so-called “high” styles, whereas architects are expected to prefer more Minimalist, “high” style buildings to decorative, popular style ones. Thirdly, the British and the Finnish participants will differ in their architectural preferences, due to acculturation. The aesthetic preferences for 10 buildings reflecting differing styles were compared in architects and lay people in Finland and the United Kingdom. In addition to examining main effects, the study tested the effects of nationality and profession interaction, and controlled for the main effects of familiarity and liking. The results of the study did not support the first hypothesis, which stated that familiar buildings would be liked more than unfamiliar ones. The second hypothesis, stating that architects prefer “high” style buildings to popular style buildings and that lay people prefer popular styles to “high” styles, was not supported either, although the data pointed in its direction. The third hypothesis, stating that the two nationalities will differ in their architectural judgements, was, however, supported by the results, suggesting that acculturation is an important factor in architectural judgements.