Paper presented at the XXXIII IAHS World Congress on Housing, 27-30 September 2005,"Transforming Housing Environments through Design", University of Pretoria.
The contemporary debate and practice in architecture focuses on the role of the occupant in the design and quality of housing. Due to a change in occupation or the dynamic nature of people’s lives over time, housing design requires a variety of interior arrangements such as flexibility, freedom, inclusiveness, etc. However, this nature of the individual occupant is usually not considered in mass housing developments, which create a tension between the general and the individual requirements. The recent housing patterns and trends reveal the need for particularization at certain degrees and consequently the importance of designing adaptable housing. When the recent ‘construction boom’ in the island of Cyprus is considered, hundreds of mass housing units denote the range of changes to adapt the housing units during the pre and post occupancy periods. The development of mass housing is under the impact of rapid socio-economic and technical transformations. Furthermore, preference of foreigners to settle in Cyprus has created a need for designers and builders to inquire about occupants and their choices. In general, occupants, who are native (Turkish Cypriot), native living in the UK and the British, change and adapt their housing units. At this point, it is a matter of question if there is any commonality or divergence in the changes to houses made by different profiles of users. Without doubt, it is important to understand the range of architectural changes due to societal phenomena for launching design ideas and concepts. They provide the occupants with greater preoccupancy choice and the opportunity for later adaptability. Under this scope, the aim is to understand the nature and degree of changes in the houses selected from different mass housing areas in the city of Girne (Kyrenia). This city on the north coast of the island has been densely settled by locals and foreigners. According to the findings obtained from personal observations and interviews with the occupants, change and adaptations are interpreted by considering the variables of the three occupant groups mentioned above.
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