Linking building-circulation typology and wayfinding: design, spatial analysis, and anticipated wayfinding difficulty of circulation types

Asya Natapov, Saskia Kuliga, Ruth Conroy Dalton, Christoph Holscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Understanding how people interpret building circulation is a critical topic for architectural design. However, few studies have examined relationships between architectural circulation and human wayfinding processes. To assess this, we propose a cognitive–architectural description of circulation typology. Based on a prominent architectural case, we explore a graph-based method to create systematically modified building layouts. We develop three distinct circulation types, linear, curved, and grid-based, which differ in their geometrical structure but are comparable in their functional and topological organizations. We conduct an objective spatial analysis of layout visibility and examine subjective judgments of wayfinding difficulty. Based on the subjective judgments, the linear circulation is the easiest of the three and the grid-based the most difficult, while the curved circulation is intermediate. This is only partially in line with the results of the objective analyses. Hence, we conclude that further behavioural validation is needed to clarify our findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-46
Number of pages14
JournalArchitectural Science Review
Issue number1
Early online date21 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020

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