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ARCHITECTURAL DETERMINISM: Satisfaction Level of Users in Malls

ARCHITECTURAL DETERMINISM: Satisfaction Level of Users in Malls

Noel Dean Sanchez

James Patrick Timosa

Monique E. Aguinaldo

Chelsea Amistad

Maybelle C. Degay

Saint Louis University

MAY 6, 2017
ARCHITECTURAL DETERMINISM: Satisfaction Level of Users in Malls| 1

I. TITLE: ARCHITECTURAL DETERMINISM: Satisfaction Level of Users in Malls


Architectural determinism is a principle of perception and phenomenon in the

built environment that uses sensory maps- are areas of the brain which respond to
sensory stimulation. Determinism in architecture is a theory applied in sociology,
urbanism and mostly, psychology which affirms that architecture is the major factor of
social behavior. It is sometimes called as Environmental Psychology. The involvement of
architecture in the natural environment has a great impact in the sensory perception
especially in psychological aspects of human. A. S. Baum defines the notion thus "In its
most extreme form, this position argues that the environment causes certain behaviours,
denying any interaction between environment and behaviour. Architectural determinism
poses the idea that people can adapt to any arrangement of space and that behaviour in a
given environment is caused entirely by the characteristics of the environment. It is a
principle and a theory applied in sociology, urbanism and psychology.
Spatial patterns which influence behaviour or the other way around, the physical
arrangement of the building elements- exterior or interior- or properties in material. In
each case, there is a possibility of changing people’s perceptions of what behaviour is
possible or appropriate, and the possibility of actually forcing some behaviour to occur or
not occur.
The round tables at Starbucks was the result of asking a question on how do they
want people to feel before considering what do they want to do, “Form follows feeling”;
what consumers sought was a place of relaxation, a place of belonging . (Outram, 2013).
One of the most studied psychological concepts is place identity, which builds on
traditional foundations of identity theory but also includes the environment as an
important factor in developing self-concept. Another equally important psychological
factor is place dependence. This functional attachment “reflects the importance of a place
in providing features and conditions that support specific goals or desired activities”
(Williams & Vaske, 2003).

Furthermore, the research has studied that human naturally seek places where they
feel the comfort, enjoyment, interaction and socialization without them being lost
especially in urban areas. The research also determines the responding variable to
people’s needs and desires. The researchers concentrate the study and observation on
behaviour of the people toward commercial spaces or malls of Baguio City. Baguio City
is a highly urbanized city in Northern Luzon in the Philippines and a centre of education,
commerce, and business. The areas of Session Road, Harrison Road, Magsaysay Avenue
and Abanao Street comprised of the trade centre of the city, where commercial and
business structures such as cinemas, hotels, restaurants, department stores, and shopping
centres are concentrated.
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Five common atmospheric items measured are ambience, color, décor, music and layout
(Bell, 1999; Frasquet et al, 2001). Atmospherics are critical because they act as
environmental cues that consumers use to imply the quality of a shopping centre (Smith
and Burns, 1996). Further, atmospherics have been reported to stimulate consumer
excitement at a shopping mall (Wakefield and Baker, 1998).
The ambient factor includes non-structural elements of the retail environment (e.g. music,
scent, and lighting). The variables studied differ by ambient cue. For instance, pertinent
aspects of scent include congruity with other cues (Carman, 1990; Cronin and Taylor,
1992; Bone and Ellen, 1999; Pegler, 1999; Lee et al, 2000; Fiore et al, 2000; Mattila and
Wirtz, 2001; Baker et al, 2002; Kang and James, 2004; Schifferstein and Blok, 2002;
Zeithaml, 2006); Pleasantness (Knasko, 1995; Fiore et al, 2000; Mattila and Wirtz, 2001).
Therefore, it is hypothesized that: Ha1: Aesthetics have a positive and significant effect
on shopper satisfaction.
1. Convenience and Accessibility
Accessibility can be further divided into macro-accessibility and micro-accessibility.
Macro-accessibility concerns access road conditions to the centre and the proximity
of the centre from the customer’s place of work or residence. Contrasting macro-
accessibility, micro-accessibility refers to parking facilities within the centre and ease
of navigation within the shopping centre (Finn and Louviere, 1996; Bell, 1999;
Frasquet et al, 2001).
2. Leisure
Bloch et al, (1994) examined the effect of mall physical environment on consumers'
emotional states and found that malls were viewed by consumers as a place not only
for shopping, but also for other activities, such as entertainment and or leisure. In the
same line, Nicholls et al (2002) found that today's mall patrons tend to be more
leisure driven than shoppers in the early 1990s. Wakefield and Baker (1998) found
that the mall environment influences the desire to stay and re-patronage intentions to
the mall. Other studies (Finn and Louviere, 1996; Sit et al, 2003) have pointed out the
importance of the shopping centre image as a critical determinant of consumer
patronage decisions. Frasquest et al, (2001), found that two entertainment items,
namely “events, exhibitions, and attractive leisure offer”, were associated with the
“atmosphere/leisure” attribute.
3. Shoppers' Satisfaction
In general, satisfaction has been conceptualized in terms of whether the
product/service meets consumer needs and expectations (Zeithaml et al, 2006). Oliver
(1997, p.28), who defined satisfaction as “the summary psychological state resulting
when the emotion surrounding disconfirmed expectations is coupled with a prior
feelings about the consumer experience”. In the direction, satisfaction has been
defined as “the consumer's fulfillment response, which is a judgment that a product or
service feature, or the product or service itself, provided a pleasurable level of
consumption related fulfillment, including levels of under or over fulfillment”
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(Oliver, 1997, p. 13). Satisfaction has been found to significantly affect consumer's
attitude, retention behavior and loyalty to the stores and services.
Problem statement
 The researchers would like to determine the spatial behavioral pattern in Baguio
City’s commercial areas in order for the people to experience the well-being in
that specific environment.

1. To identify the variable responding to people’s needs and desires in a mall.
2. To formulate Design strategies according to the observed spatial behavior.
3. To derive conclusions regarding associations between behaviors and spatial
configuration to attain satisfaction of users in malls of Baguio City.

Research Questions:

1. What are the “form follows feeling” human and environment-centered design?

2. What are the possible emotional impacts of the planned environment according to
psychological considerations?

3. What are the possible architectural patterns, exterior and interior elements which
can be applied in developing positive social behavior?


Well-being of the people should be the priority in planning and designing spaces
of every building type, concentrating on commercial spaces. Afterwards, determine the
principles affecting the psychological and sociological aspects of human and urbanism in
the vicinity. These principles will include the application of psychology and theories
regarding human needs.
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User-centered design  Behavior

therefore, indicates ways in -Social
which we might learn more -Psychological
about this complex  Human Perception
relationship; it also provides USER
tools for measuring the degree
to which the built environment
in use is successful. Ways of
approaching the users'
experience of built space, and  Spatial Pattern
ways of measuring it to ensure  Arrangement of Space
that knowledge of the user-  Building Elements- Exterior and
environment relationship ENVIRONME Interior
grows, are described. NT

Satisfaction and Well-being of Mall


Figure 1: Conceptual frame work

Review of Related Literature

Architectural determinism is a social theory that is currently on high debate
between the sociologist and architects. This is because of the said claim that architectural
determinism, unnecessarily glorifies the role of the architect, and other attitude that the
influence of architecture is secondary to influence the social and cultural history
(Vagnese, 2010). Despite this claim other sociologist and architects approve of this
theory. Regardless of the ongoing debate, architectural determinism is used in different
commercial establishment, in urban design, health facilities, correctional facilities,
schools, housings, and etc. Architectural determinism originated from Jeremy Bentham’s
concept of ‘Panopticon’. He used this concept in one of the penitentiaries in the United
States, and developed a series of architectural system in attempt to control inmates and
force them to behave in particular patterns. In hospitals besides from the patient- doctor
relationship, architectural determinism is one of the factors used to help the patients to
recover. In housing, architectural determinism is used in urban planning at the slums of
Melbourne. The place was remodel which changed the socially damaging behaviours.
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From the cramped cubicles to open plan arrangement in workplaces it was said that it
improved socialization among workers making it easy to convey ideas (Sugihto, 2016).

Moreover, people’s perspective on their environment could sometimes lead them

to miss important scenes or factors that may lead to negative consequences for health or
safety (Gifford,, 2011; Stamps, 2005: 442). Social design is a way of creating
building that fit occupants and users better by involving them in the planning process.
This is a solution in which architects see themselves primarily as artist, neglecting the
basic needs and activities of the occupants (Gifford, 2007).
In educational facilities and office-based institutions, some human behaviour can
be the result of environmental factors (Vaghese, 2010: 3; Cameron, 1963: 57). The
amount, arrangement, and design of space in educational settings are very important for
classroom performance and related behaviors (Giffirod,, Rohe & Patterson, 1947).
Lighting, noise, and other environmental factors have a heavy impact on both working
and learning spaces.
Some experts think that architectural determinism should only be viewed less as a
methodology in designing but rather as an awareness of the potential effects on human
behaviour in space. This is because of cost, it is too specific regarding culture, site,
typologies etc., and it is difficult to draw conclusions based on the architecture or design
of the space (Sugihto, 2016).

Along the purpose of revealing the relationships between behavioral and spatial
dimensions of shopping, methodological basis is aimed to develop, and therefore, the
researchers conduct in two phases. In the first stage, the survey of existing physical fabric
is made through drawings and photographs. A survey of human behavior is also
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conducted by recording the three components of customer behavior; movement speed,

density of customer concentration and duration of stay. In addition, interviews and
observation for sensory-mapping or cognitive mapping also confirm the results.
Therefore, the surveys were based on the observation and recording of these
components in different parts of the different types of shopping spaces and other
significant spaces in a mall.

To test the proposed hypotheses, a group of respondents gave their critics about the
shopping centers they visit. The researchers employ field observation, and questionnaire
survey using the same analytic techniques, observation methods, and survey instruments.
The researchers also utilized google documents to provide an online questionnaire for a
more convenient floating to specific number of people. The ratings obtained were
analyzed through the qualitative methods.

Behaviour observation

We observed three different behaviors along a predetermined route covering different

types of spaces (i.e., spaces in department stores, along other clothing stalls, outside
stalls, recreation, etc.). A field observer observed the following three behaviors at each
spaces as she walked along the path at a regular pace:

1. Visible co-presence (defined as the number of people, active and/or inactive,

visible from any segment of the route). In this case, the observer was instructed to
record the estimated number of people located within the spaces being observed
by the observer.
2. Face-to-face interaction (defined as the number of people seen engaged in face-to-
face interactions on a route segment as well as in the spaces along the segment).
In this case, the observer was instructed to record any interaction involving two or
more people.
3. Movement (defined as the number people moving on any segment of the route).
In this case, the observer was instructed to record anyone moving within a space
along her path.

Observation results

PORTA VAGA (2:00 pm-4:00 pm)

The first thing that the researchers came to observe was the food carts at the second and
the third floor of Porta Vaga. Why were they placed at that certain location? As
researchers came to observe passersby, the researchers noticed that most people who
came around those areas were mostly student who were finished with their classes. As
they pass by that space or area attracts them to eat. During the researcher’s observation,
she spotted several students who were drawn to them like magnets to their preferred food
Porta Vaga also lack of seating area where people can wait, rest and socialize.
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SM (4:00 pm-6:00 pm)

 Grocery Stalls (4:00 pm-5:15 pm)

SM stalls has their cashiers either at the center or at the left or right corner of their stalls.
This type of arrangement evokes the “everything-is-seen” feeling throughout the store,
which also serves as a warning for those who are trying to steal.
 Department Store and other Clothing Line Stalls (5:20 pm-6:30 pm)

Spaces that are under renovation causes the customers to be curious making them want to
roam around more, especially in the department store that is located at the second floor.
The space was completely rearranged causing the customers to roam around the area
more, causing them to buy other things other than the intended items to be bought.
 Veranda (6:30pm-7:15pm)

The scenic view “penetrates” through the structure and attracts people to come in and to
experience the view from the other side of the structure.

Focus Groups

The researchers also utilized interviews to group of people especially students who went
to mall as their past time. In his 1996 book Focus Groups as Qualitative Research,
Morgan discussed the applications of focus groups in social science qualitative research.
Patton (2002) argued that focus group interviews might provide quality controls because
participants tend to provide checks and balances on one another that can serve to curb
false or extreme views. Focus group interviews are usually enjoyable for the participants,
and they may be less fearful of being evaluated by the interviewer because of the group
setting. The group members get to hear what others in the group have to say, which may
stimulate the individuals to rethink their own views.

Diagnostic Interview

Some of the researchers interviewed several customer of SM Baguio City to get their
opinions about the place. The diversity of the interviewees is also important. The
interviews were done during the SM 3 day sale during the 27th – 30th of month of April.

At the SM grocery store, the researcher randomly interviewed one of the regular

“Malinis ang lugar , maluwang at tsaka maayos ang ayos ang mga stante from wet goods
to dry. And when it comes to architectural features especially interior spaces there’s one
thing i’ve want to say, sa counter meron yung time na hassle kasi mahaba pila sa
pagbabayaran lalo na pag nagmamadali ka . I’ve much appreciate it but nothing special
im just a buyer.” Nanay Virgie said during the interview.

Some of the interviewees were also a student particularly from University of the
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Cordilleras (UC), which is a university that is just walking distance from SM Baguio

“Kasi po kuya madaming pwedeng puntahan since vacant ko po maganda na lugar para
makapag unwind, killing time po maganda ang view at saka po fresh. Sa architectural
naman po kuya maganda mga interior spaces. Sa mga small stalls ay mejo masikip
nagiging mas maluwang tignan kasi yung mga kulay po is light. That’s it lang po kuya
thanks.” Ms. Dianne said.

The researcher was also able to interview one of the tourists.

“Sale kasi ading kaya napapunta ako dito and besides im a tourist since walang ibang
mapuntahan bukod sa session nakakaaliw naman dito. I think mas madami pang tao ang
dadayo dito pag natapos ang development. Parang it’s a type of amusement park.” Sir
Anthony said during the interview.

The researchers also interviewed two architects which were Ar. Jorden A. Bayacsan and
Ar. Morgan C. Cambod

An interview with Ar. Bayacsan

Q1: Sir, what did you notice in SM that is lacking compared to other malls here in
Baguio City?
A1: “May problema ata sa pedestrian crossing.” (I think there is a problem in the
pedestrian crossing.)

Q2: What do you experience in the spaces more specifically the stalls?
A2: “Okay naman yung stalls.” (The stalls were okay.)

Q3: Any suggestions sir?

A3: “Character wise, they should maintain the tensile roof overall. No to G.I. Sheet”

An interview with Ar. Cambod with the same questions asked during Ar. Bayacsan’s
A1: “First, kulang yung space para sa entertainment area, nagsisiksikan ung mga tao pag
may malaking event pati sa veranda.
Most SM branches are typical with their interiors. There is a lack of sense of place due to
its similar layout, character and used of materials, unlike other malls.”

A2: “Each stalls are unique and has their distinct character and ambience, their
environment differ from each other especially when it comes to function.”


The data gathered by the researchers were totaled from the diagnostic observation,
interviews, and questionnaires to come up with results and conclusions. There has been
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an ongoing dispute whether architecture can or cannot determine behavior. The goal of
the design process is to produce spaces that are sensible to the specific needs of this
particular group such as: the lack of ambiguity; strong, personalized features which are
aiming to remind their inhabitants of who they are and, more importantly, where they are.

The preferences of the people are the most important factor that we should
consider. According to the survey questionnaires gathered by the researchers, people were
suggesting a place inspired by nature where they can rest, seat and socialize. Some also
suggest about the pedestrian crossing within the shopping malls.
As a conclusion the researchers assert that the environment has a method of
interacting with its inhabitants. The physical form of the environment is therefore very
intimately linked to the people and its aspects. In the case of shopping malls, the situation
is rather different, namely the feature of the space does not act as a reminder of how one
should act, but as a reminder of one’s individuality, of their uniqueness; helping them to
connect with the environment and feel at ease. The visual features and attributes
identified offer a rich source of information about what type of interior environments
people prefer. Ideally these features and attributes should, however, be examined under
more controlled condition.
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