Atmosphere - An investigation of the concept of atmosphere in a residential context, its meaning and appearance
Paper in proceedings, 2015

Title. Atmosphere. An investigation of the concept of atmosphere in a residential context, its meaning and appearance. Aim. In order to get a deeper understanding on the concept of atmosphere and architecture in general and within the residential context in particular, a concept analysis is made. The paper will explore whether the chosen method “Semantic analysis and configuration analysis”, is applicable in this context and whether it will generate a more clear definition on the term atmosphere. It will also explore whether it is possible to find atmospheric experiences within a project which could be regarded as a representative of high a quality residential situation using the results from the semantic analysis. Another key question of this paper is whether it is possible to explore and describe atmospheric generators (Böhme, Havik, K et al, 2014:27), feelings and qualities without experiencing the environment physically, only studying traditional architectural representations such as drawings, models and descriptions. Background. The concept of atmosphere within architecture is of growing interest. Well-known architect Peter Zumthor claims that what we experience as atmospheric might even be an expression of quality within architecture. Method. The method used, “Semantic analysis and configuration analysis”, was originally developed by Peep Koort. Literature was selected through manual search. Commonly used dictionaries and thesauruses were chosen from the Chalmers Main Library, the Gothenburg University Library and the internet. The architectural description and analysis of the residential project was done separately using synonyms from the semantic analysis. Findings/ Conclusion. The semantic analysis reveals a wide range of synonyms and related words to atmosphere. The analysis of the selected residential project reveals a connection to synonyms of atmosphere which could be useful when describing quality in architecture and the kind of richness this apartment displays. These words are: care, character, concern, feel, feeling, modulation, mood, sensitivity, temper. They could all be seen as representatives of a guiding theme in the process of creating and describing high quality residential architecture. The analysis also reveals weak connections between words such as mood and environment and feeling and environment. Could this possibly indicate something about our use of language and how we describe and understand possible relations between high quality residential architecture and how it is perceived? The analysis of the apartment also shows that there is a possibility to do an analysis from an abstract material consisting of plans, models etc.

semantic analysis





Residential architecture


Hanna Morichetto

Chalmers, Architecture

Oral presentation and Paper presentation at the CIB W069 ‘residential studies’ meeting in Göteborg October 14-17 2015


Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories


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