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Title: Laying the fundamentals: Early methods and intentions from the outsets of space syntax
Authors: Gil, Bruno 
Coelho, Carolina 
Keywords: Elementary Syntax; Aggregation Modes; Social Logic of Space; Unit For Architectural Studies
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Instituto Superior Técnico
Project: 11th International Space Syntax Symposium, Lisbon, 3-7 July 2017 
Serial title, monograph or event: Proceedings of the 11th International Space Syntax Symposium
Place of publication or event: Lisbon
Abstract: Forty years following the ‘Space Syntax’ paper by Hillier, Leaman, Stansall and Bedford (1976), where its research programme was presented, in this 2017 11th SSS this paper aims to reflect upon the early breakthroughs that have led to all the subsidiary outcomes and technical advancements brought by this innovative approach from the 1970s. Hence, this paper will address the research context amongst which space syntax has been established, regarding its methodological nature, but foremost as an answer to the Unit for Architectural Studies’ research concerns, in which it was originally implemented. Thus, it will acknowledge the specifcities of this contemporary research context, on its theoretical conjuncture, the construction of its fundamental body of knowledge, as well as its organic structure within the context on the mentioned Research Unit, established in July 1967 at the Bartlett School of Architecture. Accordingly, the outputs of the research contents, but also of its methodological procedures, will be critically analysed, regarding the research initially developed by Hillier and Leaman, then still at the Intelligence Unit of the RIBA and their initial theoretical production. With Leaman, Hillier would present ‘The architecture of architecture’ in 1973, at the Second Conference of the Centre for Land Use and Built Form Studies. And along with Musgrove, from the Unit for Architectural Studies, Hillier and O’ Sullivan would present their outcomes at the third EDRA (1972). The overall relevance and originality of this proposal lays in its informed reassessment towards architecture, but also to other study felds, whose contribution plays a relevant role in the decision process, as proven by the expanding thematic approaches of the latest Space Syntax Symposia. Moreover, broadening the technological advancements could be lined with an understanding of the theoretical fundamentals that ground space syntax research. So, the theoretical stabilisation of these concepts in the early 1970s would be seminal to the establishment of space syntax, as the advancement of an artifcial understanding of spatial surfaces through aggregation modes, as a pre-topological approach and a still elementary syntax, envisioning a “social logic of space” (Hiller and Hanson, 1984). This acknowledgment would contribute, in the 1980s, to a possible relation between theory and practice, ultimately confrming Hillier’s proposal of linking both realms through research in 1969, when he was considered by the RIBA (1969) to be “the RIBA’s second youngest assistant secretary at 32, [as] the nearest thing we have to a long-haired intellectual”.
ISBN: 978-972-98994-4-7
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CES - Artigos e Resumos em Livros de Actas

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