Space Design and Privacy in a Saudi House
Authors: AlKhateeb, M., Humphries-Smith, T. and Eves, W.
Start date: 7 September 2014
Owners shape the interior spaces of their houses to support their daily needs. In Saudi Arabia owners’ decisions are influenced by social needs and rules. These social rules, in traditional houses, require multiple spaces that share the same function yet each target specific users. The spaces are mainly gender oriented, and reflect different sides of the owners’ needs. This paper focuses on one of these personal needs: privacy. The paper looks at the meaning of privacy and its importance inside contemporary Saudi houses. Privacy, as an issue, is international and affects people globally. It is asked here whether privacy is a culturally universal or culturally specified concern, and is concluded that it is an international concern yet with cultural specifications; something to be, respected by designers and reflected in their designs for living spaces. In this paper we have conducted an empirical study (interviews and observations) with Saudi females in order to understand the meaning of privacy in the context of Saudi contemporary houses. We aim to understand the meaning of privacy conceptually and ways to materialize the concept to support owners’ social and personal needs inside their houses. The analysis explores different ways that owners reflect their need for privacy, through their verbal expressions and their actions in their houses. The research observed the value of privacy from the participants’ perspective, resulting in the establishment of conceptual boundaries and suggesting methods to apply in Saudi Arabia and similar cultures where privacy meaning and values are similar.