The Bartlett School of Architecture


Space Syntax Laboratory Research Seminar - Laura Vaughan

24 January 2017, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

Professor Laura Vaughan

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The Bartlett School of Architecture


Room 5.04, 22 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0QB

Laura Vaughan

The Significance of Urban Space in Shaping Religious Solidarities, London 1899

Despite its label as a 'ghetto' London’s East End has absorbed over the past centuries successive waves of French Protestants, Irish Catholics, East European Jews and Muslim Bangladeshis, who have maintained their religious identity while integrating into wider society.

Focusing on an area of Whitechapel that was subject to significant slum clearance leading up to the study year, 1899, this paper will present detailed spatial analysis of the way in which the large number of synagogues and a scattering of churches were situated within the urban fabric. Although Hebrew letters on Jewish shops created a “graphic landscape both peculiar and mysterious” (Metzler, Tales of Three Cities, 2014: 279), the majority of synagogues in the area were situated in ramshackle premises behind or above shops and businesses, invisible to the public life of the city.

The seminar will compare and contrast the building/street relationships between synagogues and churches, analysing their spatial connections to the public sphere in order to address the way in which the Jewish inhabitants of the district shaped their social-cultural relationships with their surroundings. Detailed spatial analysis of the way in which building interiors and public space exteriors interrelate sheds light on the way in which religious activity intersected with public life.

See the seminar series poster here