Architectural Morphology

investigative modelling and spatial analysis



While primarily an on-site event, the presentations in the Workshop Architectural Morphology: Spatial analysis and investigative modelling spawned a series of interesting discussions both individually and through their relations, leading to a creative dialogue between researchers, and researchers and audience. For this reason, we offered - or perhaps: kindly asked for - the presenters to provide a free-format text either as a summary of their talk, or as reflections over their talk in relation to that of others - or as a reflection or background on what they ended up presenting at the workshop. For this reason, the contributions here are of varying length and type, but begins building an image and record of what took place during May 14th, 2013. This collection is a living entity, and we anticipate to add more as presenters find time to finilize their contributions.


We would like to offer our sincere thanks to the authors for these texts, as they are well beyond what originally was requested and are contributed by the authors of their own free will and time.





John Peponis:

Investigative Modelling and Spatial Analysis: a commentary on directions


"I take the subtitle of the workshop as the main title of my presentation and take the opportunity to make comments on three topics: computation, modeling and normative theory, aware that we are now thirty years after the publication of Architectural Morphology (Steadman, 1983). I will do so with an emphasis on questions not typically pursued in journal publications. While publications present substantive hypotheses and studies, here I will speak more of underlying assessments and motivations."


Sophia Psarra:

The Venice Varations


"I will devote this presentation to the intersection between design and analysis. This does not mean that I consider each individually as less interesting or compelling, but that I simply believe that analytic and generative thought can reach their full potential in conjunction with each other. After many years of practice, design teaching and research, I drew the main focus of my work in my book Architecture and Narrative (2009) as a subject of two dimensions: on one hand the abstract space which we fill with drawings, diagrams, words and abstract relationships – the non-space of the mind; and on the other, the space we cannot capture through language – verbal or visual – the world of embodied experience."


Meta Berghauser-Pont: Innovations in Measuring Density: From area and location density to accessible and perceived density


"In the rapidly growing field of measuring urbanism, the oldest and most frequent measure by far concerns urban density. As such the concept of density is of fundamental importance for both theoretical discourse and professional practice in urban development. Not least, it is of strategic importance for the urgent issue of sustainable urban development."


Ermal Shpuza:

Interaction of Boundary Shape and Circulation Structure in the Built Environment


"The built environment is considered at two distinct scales: the boundary condition exemplified by building shells and urbanized territories, and the embedded circulation system of corridors and streets. Analytical models that consider interrelations between the two scales are especially important for the study of building types where the two have different life spans. In cities, the boundary condition is often influenced by external constraints of terrains and bodies of water. An analytical model is proposed to understand this complex relationship, consisting of three main parts."


Daniel Koch:

Architectural Interfaces and Resilience: Modelling, diagramming, measuring


"Writing an abstract or summary for my presentation to this event proves more difficult than expected – which lies in part at the heart of the event itself: it serves a dual purpose, at least. On the one hand the intention is to present, quite pragmatically, some results from the research project funding it. On the other hand, the intention is to raise questions on a higher level regarding architecture, modelling and spatial analysis. These are not contradictory, as the latter in part comes from the former, but it raises some issues as to whether to focus a summary on the results concretely, or the implications that were part of spawning the theme of the workshop. This ‘summary’, therefore, will have to wander somewhere in-between while aiming to definitively provide the former. I intend to get to this stage later on."

Pablo Miranda Carranza:

Convex maps, some basic concepts and a new method to generate them


"Convex maps were first introduced by Hillier and Hanson in The social logic of space, and have since become a standard diagram of space syntax, particularly in the analysis of interior of buildings. Despite their extensive use, computer generation of convex maps is a difficult task. The original guidelines to draw convex maps by hand have been shown to be impossible to translate into a formal description of the type necessary for a computer program. Algorithmic methods for generating convex maps are useful at a practical level, since a rigorous algorithmic description of the process affords a consistent application of the method and the reproducibility of results. Besides its practical importance, the development of algorithmic methods to generate convex partitions implies also a re-examination of their role as diagrams and representtations of space, and their difference with other types of diagrams used in spatial analysis."

Architectural Morphology: Investigative modeling and spatial analysis. Research workshop, KTH School of Architecture, May 14th 2013. Ed. Daniel Koch, Pablo Miranda Carranza. The workshop is part of the project RIBS that has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007- 2013) under grant agreement number 242497. © Copyright by the authors, this specific layout the authors and KTH respectively.


Additional contributions forthcoming.

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