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Women's spaces in the vernacular Qatari courtyard house: how privacy and gendered spatial segregation shape architectural identity

Asmaa AL-Mohannadi (Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, College of Engineering, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar)
Raffaello Furlan (Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, College of Engineering, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar)
Michael Grosvald (Department of English Literature and Linguistics, College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar)

Open House International

ISSN: 0168-2601

Article publication date: 20 July 2022

Issue publication date: 3 February 2023

363

Abstract

Purpose

This research study aims to explore sociocultural factors such as privacy and gender segregation as they relate to the spatial perception of women's spaces within the vernacular Qatari household, and the activities, habits and practiced culture of its inhabitants.

Design/methodology/approach

This analysis utilizes the Space Syntax methodology to examine a sample of vernacular courtyard houses with respect to space connectivity, conducting an analytical exploration of the role of women based on the system of activities.

Findings

The findings shed light on the spatial complexity and sensitivity of the Qatari household as it reflects the prevailing sociocultural imperatives in Qatari urbanities, including the country's capital, Doha.

Research limitations/implications

This research study thus reinforces the importance of traditional residential architecture in conserving Qatar's distinctive architectural identity, rooted in its sociocultural attributes.

Social implications

Sociocultural features such as privacy and gender segregation are among the most prominent factors influencing the spatial form of vernacular courtyard houses in the Arabian Gulf country of Qatar.

Originality/value

It is argued that within a typical vernacular Qatari household, women's spaces are the least connected (most segregated) areas, due mainly to the influence of privacy norms and gender segregation on the spatial configuration of the house.

Keywords

Citation

AL-Mohannadi, A., Furlan, R. and Grosvald, M. (2023), "Women's spaces in the vernacular Qatari courtyard house: how privacy and gendered spatial segregation shape architectural identity", Open House International, Vol. 48 No. 1, pp. 100-118. https://doi.org/10.1108/OHI-01-2022-0011

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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