טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentBelferman Ehud
SubjectArchitecture and Anxiety - The Physical Changes in Schools
as an Expression of Tendency Toward Real and
Symbolized Withdrawal and Self-Defense
of Society in Israel
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisors Professor Iris Aravot
Professor Orit Nuttman-Shwartz
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

Recent decades witness unprecedented enclosure of Israeli schools by means of defensive structures and practices, which were not seen two and three decades ago. This transformation can be seen in the physical environment of schools as well as in respective community behavior. Scientific literature indicates that a similar phenomenon, namely, the seclusion of school premises, is not peculiar to Israel, affecting physical environments in the USA and the United Kingdom. This study argues that seclusion is deeply rooted in anxiety: The empirical findings and their interpretation indicate that physical enclosureis both a coping mechanism for and a key instigator of anxieties.

The basic assumption underlying this research is that physical changes in elementary schools express real and symbolic withdrawal and self-defense. The basic hypothesis is that seclusion is an architectural expression of anxiety.

In order to examine the phenomenon of school enclosure, this research included an exploratory study of an elementary school and empirical data collected from four elementary schools in Haifa, Israel. The collected qualitative data was analyzed using the S.R.B.D. model?an original theoretical, interpretive model developed throughout the study. This model is based on diverse terminology: two psychoanalytical terms, Split and Repair; the physical term Border; the social term, Dialogue. Together, these four terms create a vocabulary for formulating affinities between mental states and physical spaces. The model demonstrates and explains how an extensive dialectic, parallel, and intersecting relationship can exist between the exposed, conscious delineation (border and dialogue) and the hidden unconscious defense mechanisms (split and repair).

The S.R.B.D. model was applied in this research to, 1. Analyze and interpret the way school communities describe their school and 2. Analyze and interpret the data collected from observations that took place in four schools, both in interior and exterior spaces. Using The S.R.B.D. model opened up a path for distinguishing between two trends?the split trend and the repair trend?in the way schools conduct themselves and the way its community behaves as a group. Each school was treated as a prototype that reflects how its community copes with its own anxieties, formulating (or using) the school physical spaces by ascribing meaning to physical elements in the school spaces. Within this context, the study found that each community attaches or creates different meanings for physical elements. For example, as borders, walls become elements to promote dialogue, or combined with school regulations walls become borders that are  used to separate the school community.

The research affirms that real and symbolic seclusion constitutes a reaction to anxiety. The research further demonstrates that many anxieties come from within the schools and their communities?as a consolidated group entity. Put differently, the anxiety of the school community pertains to disintegration and the consequent inability to preserve its group identity. Thus, this study show cases that the physical territory of the school is a diagnostic tool and a powerful reflection of the emotional state of its community.