Evaluation of Aesthetic Perceptions of Public Buildings’ Façades by Design Professionals
Visual assessments are very relevant in the study of architecture since this is a profession that relies immensely on the visual sense of humans. This study contributes to the understanding of visual perceptions, as well as to the wider field of environment and behaviour studies. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the aesthetic perceptions of public buildings among design professionals with a view towards understanding the mindsets of different design professions towards façade designs. The study considered three types of design professionals: architects, engineers and industrial designers/artists. Two hundred questionnaires were analysed using a mixed methods approach. The variables used in analysing the façades of public buildings were roof design, façade colour, entrance design, fenestration arrangements and innovation in building form. Twelve images of public office buildings in Alagbaka in Akure, Nigeria, were selected for study using random selection and cluster classification methods. A photo-interviewing analysis method was adopted for analysing visual images of the buildings: first-hand visual data were obtained from the study site using digital photographs of each building, and questionnaires were then administered to respondents regarding the images. Data were measured using five-point semantic differential scales, and relevant information obtained through this method was analysed using descriptive statistics, such as frequencies and percentages. Also, inferential statistics using the Kruskal Wallis test was used to determine whether there existed significant differences within the groups of design professionals. Findings from the quantitative analysis showed that there were no significant differences among the groups, although qualitative interview sessions did reveal that while architects and industrial designers/artists exhibit similarities in aesthetic perceptions of public buildings’ façade designs, the perceptions of engineers differ slightly. While these results need to be treated, interpreted and considered with care, design professionals can learn from these subtle differences in the results. The views of each design profession are important during a design process as the final outcome of the design is greatly dependent on the collective contributions of individual professions due to their peculiarity.