A configuration generator: Housing as a toolkit for spatial exploration by users

Kyung Wook Seo, Eun Young Kim, Tsuyoshi Kigawa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Social Logic of Space (1984) showed conceptual house plans of 3x3 room layout that can generate completely different permeability graphs. Hillier and Hanson’s point was that a genotype of a building can only be retrieved by looking at its spatial connectedness, not its geometric form. Since then, researchers have successfully verified there are culture-specific housing genotypes in each society. We try to re-think about this archaeological process of genotype retrieval by designing a new housing scheme that will be used as an open genotype test-bed. Based on a concept of ‘incremental self-build housing’, an apartment unit plan of 2x3 interpretable layout was developed for Malaysian low-income city dwellers. Generating a large number of spatial variations out of a single geometry, it can accommodate a wider range of domestic life styles. 24 examples of different configurations were suggested and tested by space syntax analyses to show how a small number of rooms can generate a huge variety of spatial possibilities. At some point in post-occupancy, it is expected that we will get the idea on what ‘actuals’ occur amongst all ‘possibles’ and what dominates while others vanish. By identifying the most socio-culturally adapted plans and decoding the embedded spatial connectedness, it is hoped that we can filter out the modern Malaysian genotype. It is a new way of thinking of a house not as an end product but as a process. Here, finding a genotype does not come from measuring a frozen building form from the past but from continuously looking at its transformation in time - how residents experiment their own way of living to arrive at an optimum solution. In this experiment, the role of architects will be to offer a dwelling toolkit for users to explore configurations that will eventually reveal statistically meaningful genotypes within a given context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Space Syntax Symposium
Place of PublicationLisbon
PublisherInstituto Superior Técnico - Universidade de Lisboa
ISBN (Print)9789729899447
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Event11th International Space Syntax Symposium - Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 3 Jul 20177 Jul 2017


Conference11th International Space Syntax Symposium


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