Aesthetic Perception of Tempelhof Field
Jennifer Bell

Using the site in Tempelhof – a closed airfield – as a case study, this work examines the interrelationship of human perception and its behaviour of urban open space. Thereby it is being analysed which characteristics are perceived along the unused airfield, which specific ways of behaviour are being provoked by it in each case and which new special perceptions are being caused reciprocally by those implemented manners of behaviour. In the context of this analysis it is also being asserted, which concrete impact the characteristic atmosphere has got onto the appropriate readiness to act and to which dedicated relevance in relation to the special open space perception it comes. The purpose of this analysis is to demonstrate the interrelationship of the human perception of urban open space and its behaviour in it. Furthermore conclusions for the practice of landscape architecture of the airfield in Tempelhof are being drawn from the results. The research at hand is using the empiric methodology of field studies. For this purpose methods of scientific field studies are being combined with an artistic approach to an independent methodology. Several relevant theories of perception and space impart the basic principles for a personal development of methods. After the closure of the airfield in October the 30th 2008 the field has been converted into a non public phase of disuse. Therefore – for the duration of the research – a stabile intermediate state of objective space as a fixed base is being provided for the test arrangement. Under these circumstances the field resembles an open space laboratory. For this reason it serves as an ideal field for observation regarding the analysis of perception and behaviour inside of an artificial environment, that has totally nothing in common with the everyday living environment. The field in Tempelhof is distinguished by its wideness (ca 390 hectare) within the city which is closely covered with buildings, but is at the same time territorial structured in versatile ways. Hence for the test arrangemnet “particular places” can be selected and defined as unit for observation. The field studies is implemented for the period of march 2009 to February 2010 using probands without previous knowledge about the field. An evidence of the existing interrelation of human perception of urban open space and its behaviour in it could be supplied on the basis of six case studies. Among those three of which the perceived object shifted in each case during the alternating process towards a new spezial perception of open space. Although, in the other three case examples, the perceived object stayed the same, it still obtained a new meaning (new interpretation) during the alternating process. The analysis shows, that certain characteristics of space mediate distinctive atmospheres, thus triggering specific behaviour. For this reason the analysis delivers important findings regarding the creation of quality of stay, which generally improve the practice of landscape architecture. From the results conclusions regarding the practice of landscape architecture of the airfield in Tempelhof could be drawn.