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The Journal of Space Syntax

Editorial
Sophia Psarra
Reader of Architecture and Spatial Design
The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies
Faculty of the Built Environment
University College London (UCL)
14 Upper Woburn Place
London WC1H 0NN

Pages: vi-xiii

The Journal of Space Syntax


ISSN:
2044-7507
Year:
2011.
Online Publication Date:

Volume:2, Issue:
15 December 2011

http://www.journalofspacesyntax.org/

The Journal Of Space Syntax (JOSS)


Editorial: Volume 2, Issue 2, 2011

Sophia Psarra
The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, London

As the time of the 8th International Space Syntax Symposium in Chile is approaching, I would like to
invite you to take a look at the Autumn/Winter 2011 issue dedicated to space syntax and architecture.

Since the early stages of its development, space syntax has contributed to the study of a wide

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Fundamental as these studies are, they are predominantly about the development of advanced analyti-
cal methods, and their application to large-scale urban projects, or the study of social performance
and building function. As a result, in the last two decades, the relationship between space syntax and
architecture has not been much talked about.

That this subject has received so little attention is partly due to the role played by dominant

research directions, and partly due to the tendency in space syntax research to study space at the
expense of those constituents that distinguish space from architecture. A second reason is the unique
capacity of space syntax to capture how spaces function for their social purposes. The consequence
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directly through the medium of space have not been studied in a systematic way. Another reason is the
preference in space syntax for generic quantitative accounts, that is, mathematical models that can be
applied comparatively to a large number of cases. While it is possible to identify generic character-
istics in large classes of built forms, architecture - as it differs from building - aspires to give social
SXUSRVHVXQLTXHDUFKLWHFWXUDOGHQLWLRQDQGLVWKXVOHVVVXVFHSWLEOHWRJHQHULFGHVFULSWLRQV

The Autumn/Winter issue of JOSS emerges from an eagerness to focus the debate on design

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syntax generates are to reach the design of buildings and cities, this is primarily through the creative
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RIFRQWULEXWLRQDUFKLWHFWXUHPDNHVWRRXUHOGDQGZKLFKWKLQJVVSDFHV\QWD[RIIHUVEDFNWRWKHGLV-
cipline; and second, to overcome the fragmentation of architecture into a social practice concerned
with functional relations, and an aesthetic practice concerned with visual appearance.
Journal of Space Syntax, Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages vi-xiii, 2011

vi

Starting from this premise, this issue was planned so as to construct intersections between

analytical and design knowledge, including contributions from scholars as well as from practitioners.
The six papers published here three by academics/researchers (Bill Hillier, Michael Ostwald and Sean
Hanna) and three by practitioners/architectural design educators (Irena Sakellaridou, Iris Lykourioti
and Thomas Arnold) - cover diverse subjects: from the generation of design to spatial analysis, from
WKHFRQJXUDWLRQDOUHODWLRQVWKDWPDNHXSWKHSK\VLFDOIRUPRIIDoDGHVWRDHVWKHWLFVDQGPHDQLQJIURP
the relationship between topology and geometry to the study of houses designed by Glenn Murcutt and
Mario Botta, and from the logic of composition to a parallel discussion of poetry and architecture. In
preparing this issue of JOSS and discussing with those authors that come from architectural practice
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VFKRODUO\ZRUN7KH\KDGWRIRFXVRQUHHFWLYHDUFKLWHFWXUDOSUDFWLFHWRGHPRQVWUDWHDFRQFHUQZLWK
the relational logic of architecture; to combine analytical and design knowledge in a rigorous way;
and through their design and written work stimulate fresh directions and new knowledge.

vii

Starting with the Theory section, we are pleased to present Bill Hilliers paper: Is Architec-

tural Form Meaningless? Hillier looks at the organisation of formal elements characterising buildings
IDoDGHVWRGLVFXVVWKHJHQHULFPHDQLQJRIIRUPDQGWKHZD\VLQZKLFKLWSDVVHVWKURXJKVLJQLFDQFH
WRVLJQLFDWLRQ VHH+LOOLHULQWKLVLVVXHS WKDWLVIURPWKHLQWHUQDOORJLFRIDUFKLWHFWXUH
WRWKHH[SUHVVLRQRIFRQWHQW +LOOLHU %HDXWLIXOO\LOOXVWUDWHGZLWKSKRWRJUDSKVRIYHUQDFXODU
EXLOGLQJVDQGPRGHUQDUFKLWHFWXUHJHRPHWULFJXUHVDQGIRUPVIs Architectural Form Meaning-
lessH[WHQGVWKHWKHRU\RIVSDWLDOFRQJXUDWLRQWRDFRQJXUDWLRQDOWKHRU\RIPHDQLQJ7KHDQDO\VLV
FRQUPVLQWXLWLRQVDERXWRXUUHDGLQJVRIEXLOGLQJIDoDGHVEXWDOVRFKDOOHQJHVDZKROHJHQHUDWLRQ
of architectural theories that rely either on mathematical descriptions devoid of social meaning, or
RQVLJQLFDWLRQ+LOOLHUVSDSHULVRQHRIWKHIHZDWWHPSWVWRFRPSDUHDUFKLWHFWXUDOWKHRULHVZLWKWKH
FRQJXUDWLRQDOWKHRU\SURYLGLQJDQDOWHUQDWLYHWRWKHWUDGLWLRQDOGLYLVLRQEHWZHHQIRUPDQGPHDQ-
LQJ7KHPRVWVLJQLFDQWFRQWULEXWLRQKLVSDSHUPDNHVWKRXJKLVLQWKHSURSRVLWLRQWKDWPHDQLQJ
means using the layered potentials of architecture in correspondence to clarify one abstraction. The
aesthetic means using the layered potentials in non-correspondence to create abstract complexity
VHH+LOOLHULQWKLVLVVXHS +LOOLHUJRHVRQWRVXJJHVWWKDWWKHV\QWDFWLFPXOWLOD\HUHGDOOXVLYH-
ness of meaning in architecture works in a way that is similar to poetry. The implication is that what
matters in architecture is not what things mean but the manner in which they mean. We would like
to thank Bill for his inspiring paper, showing that a generic theory of form can at the same time be a
generic theory of content. My own annotations and images in his text aim at expanding the number
of examples that illustrate the passage from mathematical descriptions to real architectural cases.

The section dedicated to Theory and Practice presents papers by Irena Sakellaridou and

,ULV/\NRXULRWL6DNHOODULGRXVSDSHUSearching for Order: Synchronic and Diachronic Aspects (of


a personal case), addresses compositional order in architecture from the points of view of formal
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part explores this subject in the context of the synchronic and diachronic aspects of Mario Bottas
architecture; the second part looks at her practice (sparch: Sakellaridou/Papanikolaou Architects). In
Editorial

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providing evidence for innovation. Through an analysis of the compositional structure of nineteen
houses Sakellaridou describes a pre-canonic, a canonic and a post-canonic phase in Bottas archi-
tecture. This examination enables her to identify the transition from the pre-canonic to the canonic
phase as the most creative stage in the work of the architect; it also helps to distinguish between
two compositional modes: an intensional one based on relations built on top of each other, and an
extensional one based on relations in the form of a lattice. Hilliers distinction between meaning and
aesthetics and Sakellaridous notions of intensional and extensional modes of composition seem to
come close, as both authors look at the ways in which rules in parallel worlds (Hillier) or in different
domains (Sakelaridou) relate to each other. Sakelaridous intensional mode relates to Hilliers notion of
correspondence of properties, whereas what she describes as the extensional mode to Hilliers idea of
QRQFRUUHVSRQGHQFHRIUXOHV$UJXLQJIRUDFRQJXUDWLRQDOWKHRU\RIFRPSRVLWLRQ6DNHOODULGRXVZRUN
is anchored in the theoretical foundations of space syntax. However, the synchronic and diachronic
analysis of Bottas work and the discussion of her own practice hold for space syntax a challenge.
Looking at her own architecture, she explains that through experimentation that designers can remain
creative outside their set systems of order. The implication is that if analytic theories help to bring the
rules underlying design to the level of conscious thought (Hillier, 1996), architecture is not simply
in the conscious application of rules, but also in destabilising these rules to unsettle habitual ways of
designing.

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you? is based on three parallel discussions: a poem by Mallarm ($7KURZRIWKH'LFHQHYHUZLOO


abolish Chance, 1897), the conversion of an apartment in Athens, Greece (2006), designed and
implemented by her design team (A Whales Architects), and a diagram drawn by George Brecht in
his Notebook III (1959). The analysis of the poem leads Lykourioti to an appreciation of anti-form
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to the imaginative dissolution and reconstruction by the reader. In the analysis of the apartment she
proposes that the notion of anti-form is materialised in architecture through multifunctional spaces
that are visually interrelated and open to alternative patterns of use and syntactic interpretations. Fi-
nally, the discussion of the Brechts diagram leads her to a revision of architecture and anti-form so
as to include all agencies that actively participate in the construction and inhabitation of buildings.
/\NRXULRWLVSURSRVLWLRQWKDWZRUGVDQGVSDFHVDFWDVFURVVURDGVRIPXOWLSOHUHJLVWHUVDSSURDFKHV
Hilliers discussion of architecture and poetry as media that create awareness of multiple parallel
levels, and Sakellaridous intensional and extensional modes of composition. But Lykouriotis work
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between the spatial morphologies of buildings and the spatial morphologies of occupancy and social
behaviors. It shows that architecture is not a set of design parameters and criteria for performance,
not a passive corpus to dissect and reassemble again through various forms of analysis, but a dense
and palpable framework where the contingencies of everyday life intersect with abstract thought of
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Journal of Space Syntax, Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages vi-xiii, 2011

viii

7KRPDV$UQROGVSDSHUUsing Space Syntax to Design An Architecture of Visual Relations

in the Practice section of JOSS is an intriguing contribution to space syntax from the perspective of
architectural practice. Arnold uses four projects carried out in collaboration with his partners (Work-
spheres Architects) to present the design approach developed using Depthmap (Turner, 2001) in their
RIFHWorkphere Architects analyse building sites and plans employing area isovists, line length and
integration so as to inform their design propositions by the likely use patterns, and best integrate them
in a site and context. But instead of using space syntax to simply evaluate and adjust their schemes to
the results of the analysis, Arnold and his colleagues utilise these tools both as analytical tools and
DVJHQHUDWLYHPHWKRGV in their designs. Workspheres Architects are interested in all-line axial maps
(as opposed to axial maps consisting of the longest and fewest axial lines) for their capacity to sustain
multiple possibilities at the level of two kinds of geometries: the geometry of form and the geometry
of sight. Aside to the innovative development of techniques to include the generation of all-line maps
in three dimensions, Arnolds paper contains implicitly a strong theoretical proposition: space syntax

ix

accesses and evaluates spatial relations that by and large are already formed. As such it deals with a
reduced set of representations and possibilities afforded by a design. Workspheres Architects instead,
use space syntax as a generative tool so as to expandFRQJXUDWLRQDOSRVVLELOLW\DQGDVDQDQDO\WLFDO
tool to inform design (reducing the set of available choices). Arnold shows that the generation of pos-
sibility interacts with evaluative practices, and that design and analysis are not separate and distinct
phases, but intertwine. We hope his paper will inspire debate and stimulate attempts to interface design
generation and analysis.

The Research section comprises Michael Ostwalds paper Examining the Relationship Be-

WZHHQ7RSRORJ\DQG*HRPHWU\$&RQJXUDWLRQDO$QDO\VLVRIWKH5XUDO+RXVHV  RI*OHQQ


Murcutt. Starting from the recognition that space syntax mainly privileges topology (social function)
RYHUJHRPHWU\ IRUP 2VWZDOGDQDO\VHVYHKRXVHVE\*OHQQ0XUFXWWWRH[SORUHZKHWKHUWKLVLVDFWX-
DOO\WUXHLQKLVDUFKLWHFWXUH+HXVHVMXVWLHGJUDSKVWRFRQVWUXFWDVHULHVRILQHTXDOLW\JHQRW\SHVD
SULPDF\JUDGLHQWEHQFKPDUNFRQJXUDWLRQDQGWKHFDOFXODWLRQRIWKHIUDFWDOGLPHQVLRQRIHDFKSODQ
to conclude that topology is not the sole factor, and that other factors including geometry may play a
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alone has obvious limitations. His set of references reminds us that this subject has not been widely
H[SORUHGE\VSDFHV\QWD[UHVHDUFKHUV+LOOLHUVZRUNLQWKLVLVVXH S Space is the Machine
(Hillier, 1996) as well as studies on spatial partitioning and built shape by John Peponis, Sonit Bafna
and their colleagues at Georgia Tech stand out in this respect (Peponis 1997a, 1997b, Peponis et al.,
3HSRQLVDQG%HODO 6DNHOODULGRXVZRUN  
P\RZQVWXGLHV 3VDUUD DQGWKHZRUN,GLGZLWKWKHODWH7DG*UDMHZVNL 3VDUUD
and Grajewski, 2001) are included in this category, but it is important to mention other less known
contributions from students of the AAS MSc course such as Martine de Maeseneer (1987), John
Easterling (1987), and Dickon Irwin (1988) at UCL, and the work of Ian Grice (1998) and Gill Komet
(1999) in Cardiff University. Outside space syntax, the relationship between geometry and function
has been addressed in the pioneering work of Phil Steadman on the enumeration of built forms in
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Editorial

recent paper Ostwald published in the Nexus Network Journal (2011) points to the fact that with the
exception of Julienne Hansons study of architects houses (1999), and Sonit Bafnas analysis of the
domestic architecture of Mies van der Rohe (1999; and his Geometric Intuitions of Genotypes, 2001,
as a response to Phil Steadman, in the SSS Atlanta Conference), the study of an architects oeuvre is
another area where there is not much in-depth exploration using space syntax theory and analysis.

Next paper in the Research section is Sean Hannas paper 7KH,QYHUWHG*HQRW\SHDQGLWV

Implications for the Flexibility of Architectural Models. Hanna starts from the observation that most
current methods of architectural representation, parametric modelling, design scripting and building
LQIRUPDWLRQPRGHOOLQJHPSKDVLVHDFRGHWKDWZDVKLVWRULFDOO\DQGV\PEROLFDOO\GHULYHGIURPDUWLFLDO
LQWHOOLJHQFHDQGPROHFXODUELRORJ\7KLVKHVXJJHVWVKDVREYLRXVOLPLWDWLRQVLQWHUPVRIWKHLQH[LELOLW\
WKH\SUHVHQWEH\RQGVHWFRQVWUDLQWV,QFRQWUDVW+LOOLHUDQG+DQVRQ  SURSRVHWKDWJHQRW\SHV
DUHUHWULHYHGIURPH[LVWLQJSKHQRW\SHVDQGUHHPEHGGHGLQVXEVHTXHQWFRQJXUDWLRQV+DQQDUDLVHV
WKHTXHVWLRQRIKRZ+LOOLHUDQG+DQVRQVQRWLRQVRIWKHLQYHUWHGJHQRW\SHDQGGHVFULSWLRQUHWULHYDO
mechanism in The Social Logic of Space (ibid.) can be modelled, and provides a series of worked
RXWH[DPSOHVLQFOXGLQJEHDG\ULQJH[SHULPHQWVDQGKRXVHVIURPHDUO\PRGHUQDUFKLWHFWXUHWKDW
can serve as an alternative parametric modelling paradigm to the one that is currently dominant (also
taking into account attributes such as shape, form and materials, besides those represented in permeability graphs and axial maps). These models enable Hanna to suggest that it is possible to retrieve
multiple and equally varied descriptions rather than a single representation from a set of phenotypes,
DQGWKDWZLWKUHVSHFWWRLQIRUPDWLRQRZFRGLHGDQGVKDUHGVWDQGDUGVRIFRPPXQLFDWLRQDUHQRW
UHTXLUHGDOZD\V:KDWLVQHHGHGLQVWHDGLVFULWLFDOUHHFWLRQDQGWKHDELOLW\WRDGDSWWRXQIRUHVHHQ
situations.

Hannas paper has obvious implications for creativity, reinforcing in an intelligent way

arguments made by other authors in this issue of JOSS. Examples are Sakellaridous proposition
that canons (genotypes) established in architectural production over a certain time have the potential
WREHFRPHLQH[LEOHKLQGHULQJFUHDWLYLW\LQGHVLJQ/\NRXULRWLVLGHDWKDWDQWLIRUPLVPDWHULDOO\
[HG>SKHQRW\SH@LQRUGHUWREHRSHQWRLPDJLQDWLYHFRJQLWLYHGLVVROXWLRQDQGUHFRQVWUXFWLRQE\WKH
user (see Lykourioti, p.188); and Ostwalds discussion of Murcutts programmatic discoveries in
his domestic buildings (see Ostwald in this issue, p.221). However, with regards to architecture, it
is interesting, as Phil Steadman comments (in communication), to consider a great variety of other
media and routes through which retrieval mechanisms are achieved, such as architectural theories,
photographs, drawings, illustrations, architectural education, building codes, legislation and standards
in addition to the medium of buildings themselves. Flow of information in these cases is far reach-
ing, and moves fast across space, time and scales. In some cases it fast-tracks to the past, where what
actually remains in physical form (phenotype) is often incomplete and available only in fragments or
speculative reconstruction (also affecting the imaginative transmission of information). Juan Pablo
Bontas analysis of the published records of Mies van der Rohes Barcelona Pavilion for example,
shows that the Pavilion became widely known after it was dismantled through the medium of writ-
ings, photographs and drawings (1979). As Adrian Forty remarks, the media through which a work
Journal of Space Syntax, Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages vi-xiii, 2011

RIDUFKLWHFWXUHLVWUDQVPLWWHGDQGUHDFKHGLVQROHVVSDUWRIDUFKLWHFWXUHWKDQWKHLGHDFRQFHLYHGE\
the arcitectus ingenio or the craftsmanship of the artisan (2000, p.11). Architecture shows evidence
of conscious creative thought both in the realms of the discursive and non-discursive, and as such it
differs in its transmission mechanisms from the vernacular (Psarra, 2010). Steadmans observations
DQG%RQWDVLGHQWLFDWLRQRISUHFDQRQLFFDQRQLFDQGSRVWFDQRQLFSKDVHV ibid.) in terms of critical
interpretations of Barcelona Pavilion (close to Sakellaridous observations of phases in an architects
work) extend the idea of description retrieval to encompass buildings as well as architecture, built
forms as well as immaterial forms, such as theories, documents and representations.

Two book reviews - Jan Kateins review of Around & About Stock Orchard Street (Wiggles-

worth ed., 2011) and Garyfalia Palaiologous review of 7KH8UEDQ+RXVLQJ+DQGERRN (Firley and
Stahl, 2009) and 7KH8UEDQ7RZHUV+DQGERRN (Firley and Gimbal, 2011) - as well as Frederico
GH+RODQGDVFRPPHQWDU\RQ6DP*ULIWKVSDSHU 7HPSRUDOLW\LQ+LOOLHUDQG+DQVRQV7KHRU\RI

xi

6SDWLDO'HVFULSWLRQ6RPH,PSOLFDWLRQV2I+LVWRULFDO5HVHDUFK)RU6SDFH6\QWD[ published in the


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With this issue, JOSS has for two years provided our readers with papers that unravel chal-

lenging new ideas and critical discussions, expanding to include here creative architectural work. I
would like to take this opportunity to thank the authors presented in this issue for their enthusiastic
and intelligent responses to our invitation for papers addressing the theme of space syntax and archi-
tecture. I am also grateful to our reviewers for ensuring we publish high quality work, our editorial
ERDUGDQGUHDGHUVIRUWKHLUVXSSRUWGXULQJWKHUVWVWDJHVRIWKH-RXUQDOVOLIH7KDQNVJRDOVRWR5HHP
Zako for her continuous help behind the scenes, facilitating the changes in the editorial management;
and to Nooshin Karimi for her drawings of the illustrations chosen to accompany Bill Hilliers paper.
Finally, a warm welcome to Garyfalia Palaiologou, PhD candidate at the Bartlett School of Graduate
Studies UCL, who has recently taken the position of editorial manager of the Journal, and has ensured
we maintain the highest possible standards.

The Editor
Sophia Psarra
'HFHPEHU

Editorial

IN MEMORIUM
The editors of the Journal of Space Syntax take this opportunity to commemorate the passing of our
colleague Alasdair Turner. Alasdair was a member of the Space Group in the UCL Bartlett School
of the Built Environment since 1996, where he was recently promoted to a Readership. He worked
previously in the UCL Department of Computer Science and was one of the few people in his genera-
WLRQZKRFRYHUHGWKHZKROHHOGRIVSDFHV\QWD[IURPSKLORVRSK\WKURXJKPDWKVWRFRPSXWDWLRQ
+HKDGDJOREDOUHSXWDWLRQIRUKLVZRUNHVSHFLDOO\ZLWKWKHRYHUUHVHDUFKHUVDURXQGWKHZRUOG
who used the Space Syntax analytic software that he wrote. Prof Alan Penn, Dean of the Bartlett,
writes that: His work was much more fundamental than just software programming. He wrote, with
UHPDUNDEOHFODULW\SDSHUVZKLFKPDGHIXQGDPHQWDOVFLHQWLFLQQRYDWLRQVLQRXUXQGHUVWDQGLQJRI
the built environment. His loss will be felt not only within the Space Group, but across the space
syntax community.

xii

The Editors

References
%DIQD6  7KH0RUSKRORJ\2I(DUO\0RGHUQLVW5HVLGHQWLDO3ODQV*HRPHWU\DQGJHQRW\SLFDOWUHQGVLQ0LHVYDQGHU
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Journal of Space Syntax, Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages vi-xiii, 2011

Sakellaridou, I. (1982), Architectural Codes (unpublished), M.Arch Thesis, Vancouver: The University of British Columbia.
6DNHOODULGRX,  $UFKLWHFWXUDO6LJQLFDWLRQ,WV3URGXFWLRQ,QEspaces et SocietesQRS
6DNHOODULGRX,  6WUXFWXULQJWKH&HQWUDO&RQFHSW<RUN&ROORTXLXP'HVLJQLQ3UDFWLFH
6DNHOODULGRX, D /RRNLQJ%DFNDW'HVLJQ7KH&HQWUDO&RQFHSWDVWKH'RPLQDQW&RGH,Q3URFHHGLQJVRIWKHWK
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