Architecture is based on people and shapes its design according to the needs of people. Therefore, the human factor is indispensable for architecture. Another discipline, which focuses on people, is sociology. Sociology is a science that deals with human and society relations and examines the functioning of social behaviours and social institutions. Sociology needs functional space to benefit from social institutions and to identify the needs of the social institution. Architecture meets this need of sociology because architecture builds its design based on human-oriented by considering the relationship of the built environment, which consists of human activities, with social theories. In this process, while architecture meets the functional space need of sociology, it guides the architectural design process in sociology. Thus, architecture and sociology expand their fields of study, and architecture and sociology take on the mission of producing a meaningful place for society. Human and social relations, which are the common subject of both disciplines, form architectural sociology, a new way of thinking with all types of buildings in our cities where consumption and production mobility are experienced.

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Architectural Sociology_©EPFL

The main task of architectural sociology is to enable architects and people to present a sociological perspective on urban and building design. For this purpose, architectural sociology uses many research tools to estimate the impact of architectural designs on society, such as survey research, internet research, interview, observation, etc. Thus, it provides data about before and after the architectural design process. These data are included in the architectural design process, such as problem definition, information gathering, analyzing ideas, and developing solutions. Architectural sociology uses sub-branches of sociology such as cultural sociology, urban sociology and sociology of space, classical sociology of architecture while presenting all data to architecture. The content of architectural sociology may be under three main headings. These are cultural sociology, classical sociology of architecture, and urban sociology, and sociology of space. Especially, urban sociology and sociology of space is the most popular study area in architectural sociology. Urban strategists, consist of architects, urban planners, and sociologists, conduct many research and atelier in this study area every year. The importance of these studies is that urban strategists encourage all people to produce a meaningful place for society. Let’s continue to examine the sociology of architecture under three main headings: cultural sociology, classical sociology of architecture, urban sociology and sociology of space.

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1. Cultural Sociology

All kinds of values ​​created in the historical process are a product of culture. These products, which reflect the way of life, economy, production style, religion, social environment, and construction systems of human communities, also form the architectural culture. Because of the intense effort made for each product, architectural designs constitute the most fundamental components of the physical environment created by man. Societies invest a large part of their efforts in architectural designs. Therefore, the place occupied by architecture in society increases considerably. This situation causes each culture to create its own architectural culture. Every kind of design produced in this process becomes the object of cultural sociology over time. Cultural sociology reinterprets the values ​​produced by society with its concepts and presents them to the service of architecture. Architecture tries to make socially meaningful data obtained from cultural sociology and realizes a social production. In this process, architecture, which is the work of cultural producers, reveals designs for the present and future of various cultures. Today, architects who are slaves of capitalism design architectural designs that do not reflect their own culture. Therefore, we mostly come across designs that are far from aesthetics and have only economic value. Architecture may destroy the culture of the society with this process continuing. For this reason, architects must fight for cultural objects that are slaves of capitalism, because architects are the most significant reflectors of culture.

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Cultural Sociology_©hopsalka

2. Classical Sociology of Architecture 

Classical Sociology is based on the examination of the ideas of sociologists, considered to be classical in the emergence and development of sociology. Classical sociology in architecture makes case studies on the relations between architectural space and social relations. Thus, the effectiveness of architecture in social life is analyzed sociologically. It is possible to find this sociological analysis of architecture in the classic sociologists in Marcel Mauss, Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and others. For example, modernization is the most popular topic of discussion for architecture and classical sociology. Tönnies, Durkheim, Simmel, Marks, and Weber put forward views questioning the early modern period. These views bring together concepts, such as capital, social transformation, urban life, authority, and class conflicts. Today, these concepts still guide modernization theories.

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Classical Sociology of Architecture_©Rachel Lauren

3. Urban Sociology and Sociology of Space

Urban sociology and sociology of space focuses on the relationships between society and urban space. The designed space is considered both as a social product and as a means of social reproduction. Many actors diversify the urban space by reshaping human behaviors and identities in urban space and providing social interaction between urban space and society. The main subject areas are the spatiality of the city, urban heritage, colonial architecture, and social and spatial inequalities. It is possible to find this sociological analysis of architecture in the sociologists in Pierre Bourdieu, Georg Simmel, besides Emile Durkheim. For example, Durkheim, who is regarded as one of the most important founders of sociology, adopts a model of society called functionalist. According to him, society resembles an organism consisting of parts different functions to form a whole. At the same time, he argues that society has an independent reality that cannot be reduced to the individuals who compose it. Therefore, social facts are the basic study object of sociology for Durkheim. Emile Durkheim provides important data on the role of space in social processes with his theory, besides.

Urban Sociology and Sociology of Space_©marcoscisetti
Reference List 
  1. Books

Jones, P. (n.d.). The Sociology of Architecture Constructing Identities. [online] Liverpool University Press. Available at: https://is.muni.cz/el/fss/podzim2017/SOC593/um/Jones_2011_The_Sociology_of_Architecture_book_130920.pdf [Accessed 10 Sep. 2021].

  1. Online sources

Asanet.org. 2021. Architectural Sociology. [online] Available at: <https://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/savvy/footnotes/dec02/fn17.html#:~:text=Smith%20and%20Bugni%20define%20architectural,on%20a%20variety%20of%20levels.> [Accessed 10 September 2021].

PDH, A., 2021. Architecture Reflects Culture – PDH Academy. [online] PDH Academy. Available at: <https://pdhacademy.com/2016/03/28/architecture-reflects-culture/> [Accessed 10 September 2021].

Images

[Image 1] Architectural Sociology. Available at: https://www.epfl.ch/labs/lasur/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/49102681518_d33afe0027_o-1536×864.jpg [Accessed 23 Sept. 2021]

[Image 2] Architectural Sociology. Available at: https://www.istockphoto.com/tr/foto%C4%9Fraf/mountain-village-masuleh-gm610980914-105044473 [Accessed 23 Sept. 2021].

[Image 3] Cultural Sociology. Available at: https://www.istockphoto.com/tr/foto%C4%9Fraf/yeni-kar%C5%9F%C4%B1-eski-eski-bir-tu%C4%9Fla-bina-modern-yeni-cephe-windowsda-yans%C4%B1yan-gm1060049542-283352721 [Accessed 23 Sept. 2021].

[Image 4] Classical Sociology of Architecture. Available at: https://rachellaurensocialtheory.umwblogs.org/definitions-2/classical-social-theory/ [Accessed 23 Sept. 2021].

[Image 5] Urban Sociology and Sociology of Space. Available at: https://www.istockphoto.com/tr/foto%C4%9Fraf/campo-square-in-siena-italy-gm478093288-67002717 [Accessed 23 Sept. 2021].

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