The Bartlett School of Architecture


Space Syntax Laboratory Research Seminar Series: Marcela Aragüez

07 March 2017, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

Space Syntax Seminar illustration for Marcela Araguez's talk

Event Information

Open to







Room 6.04, The Bartlett School of Architecture, 22 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0QB

Analysing Spatial Uncertainty in a Japanese Case Study:
The Rolex Learning Centre

Marcela Aragüez

The architecture of the Japanese practice SANAA, led by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, seems to be conceived so as to be spatially and programmatically ‘uncertain’, with configurations that tend to be freed from constrictions.

In particular, the Rolex Learning Centre, shaped by an undulated floor and ceiling with no defined separate floors or rooms in the interior, raises important issues with respect to the usefulness of boundaries to demarcate spaces and the field of possibilities generated by the inclusion of the third-dimension as a demarcating spatial tool.

The present study intends to analyse the spatial system and the social patterns to be observed in the Rolex Learning Centre by the exploration of three specific qualities: the importance of the three-dimensionality, the relation between interior and exterior and the apparent non-definition of use in space.

To do so, these three spatial features have been addressed under four sections of analysis – Spatial Form, Spatial Program, Spatial Configuration and Spatial Practice.

Each section will add a new layer of perspective in the understanding of the building’s functioning. Thus, the accumulation and contrast of results will explore the role of spatial complexity in creating an apparent social informality, and it will also evaluate the extent to which an ideal environment for flexible learning has been achieved.

This research was awarded the UCL Turner Prize for best dissertation from the MSc Spatial Design: Architecture & Cities in 2014.

The talk will further address how this work has been important in shaping research on spatial uncertainty in post-war British and Japanese architecture, currently being developed for a PhD in Architectural History and Theory at the Bartlett.