Interiority, place identity, public interior, public space, Kızlarağası Inn



Public spaces in the context of everyday life in an urban environment include all places with public access and public use. Places for public interaction provide the greatest amount of human contact. In every city, many interiors are considered public because they are of or pertain to the people in everyday life. As part of public spaces, public interiors have an important role in creating place identity.

In an urban environment, place identity is defined by meanings as well as the elements of setting, activities, and events taking place within that environment. This paper aims to reveal the interiority attributes and elements of public interiors to determine how they influence the identity of interior places. This understanding clarifies how this differs from the more general concept of place identity in public spaces.


To do this, a framework for identity was constructed with three components: physical setting, activity, and meaning, based on the main theoretical perspectives of Relph (1976) and Montgomery (1998). To determine the relationships between the interiority indicators of public interiors and identity, this case study focused on Kızlarağası Inn, a historic inn in İzmir, and its immediate surroundings. Data concerning the components of place identity were collected through archival research, observations, on-site documentation, questionnaires, interviews, behavior mapping, and tracking.


The analysis of the attributes and elements of place identity in this public interior indicated that the interiority of public spaces can play a positive role in increasing place identity. Moreover, the evaluations revealed the effect of internality in each component of place identity. Features like well-defined boundaries, closeness to human scale, volumetric properties, legibility, the potential of promoting a wide range of activities, and promoting a different sensory context stem from the internality of place.

Social/Practical Implications

This study emphasized the importance of public and urban interiors as significant places that facilitate public life. Moreover, it showed the extension of interior spaces outside the buildings, which emphasized a new perspective for interior architects and urban designers by bringing a new understanding of the interiority.


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Author Biographies

Sahar Asadollahi Asl Zarkhah, Yasar University

Sahar Asadollahi Asl Zarkhah received her bachelor degree in architecture from PNU University, Department of Architecture in 2011 and her graduate degree in interior architecture from Yaşar University, Department of Interior Architecture in 2018. Her main research interests include public and urban interiors, environmental psychology, and socio-cultural studies in architecture. 

Zeynep Tuna Ultav, Yasar University

Dr. Zeynep Tuna Ultav received her bachelor degree in architecture from Middle East Technical University, Department of Architecture in 1999, her graduate degree in architecture from the same department in 2002, and her PhD degree from Gazi University, Department of Architecture in 2008. She is currently Department Head at Yaşar University, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design. Her research interests include history and theory of architecture/interior architecture, architecture and ideology-utopia, modern architecture and furniture design in turkey, architecture and fiction, and tourism architecture.

Gülnur Ballice, Yasar University

Dr. Gülnur Ballice obtained her undergraduate, master’s, and PhD degrees from the Department of Architecture at Dokuz Eylül University, Middle East Technical University, and Dokuz Eylül University, respectively. After starting her academic career as an instructor at Yasar University in 2005, she was appointed to Assistant Professorship in 2006. She is currently working as a full- time academician at Yasar University. Her main research topics are urban transformation/renewal, urban identity, creative housing approaches, the history and theory of modern architecture/interior architecture/design, instructional methods in design studio, healthcare interiors, and housing and culture.


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How to Cite

Asadollahi Asl Zarkhah, S., Tuna Ultav, Z., & Ballice, G. (2020). THE EVALUATION OF INTERIORITY IN THE IDENTITY OF PUBLIC SPACES. ICONARP International Journal of Architecture and Planning, 8(2), 567–590.