The Bartlett School of Architecture


Space Syntax Laboratory

The Space Syntax Laboratory is the originator of the architectural research discipline of space syntax.


Space syntax research has led to a fundamental understanding of the relationship between spatial design and the use of space as well as longer term social outcomes.

The UCL Space Syntax Laboratory is the international centre of the theory and methodology known as ‘space syntax’. It studies the effects of spatial design on aspects of social, organisational and economic performance of buildings and urban areas.

The Laboratory incorporates the VR Centre for the Built Environment, whose role is to bring the full range of computer graphics, interaction and digital data to the virtual building that currently drives the design-development-operation cycle.

The group is also associated with Space Syntax Limited, a UCL spinout applied research and technology transfer firm, which is currently working on a range of live projects from end-user organisations in industry and local government.

The research undertaken here aims:

  • to develop theories and to test these by studying the effects of spatial design on aspects of social, organisational and economic performance of buildings and urban areas
  • to integrate computational approaches at the heart of the design process, including structural, societal and environmental analysis
  • to develop the generation of design solutions that combine machine learning, optimisation and technological innovation
  • to develop and disseminate ways of designing, producing and operating buildings and urban areas using virtual-reality and augmented-reality techniques
  • to develop ways of designing for embodied interaction with and through media architecture

In the field

Built on mathematical algorithms and geospatial computer technology, space syntax provides for analysis of spatial configurations of all kinds and at all scales. It has been extensively applied in the fields of architecture, urban design, planning, transportation and interior design.

Space syntax’s theoretical and methodological innovation intersects with a variety of disciplines, including:

  • anthropology
  • archaeology
  • computer science
  • urban and human geography
  • psychology
  • sociology
  • medicine
  • mathematical modelling
  • physics


Find out more about the Master's and MPhil // PhD programmes led by members of the Space Syntax Laboratory: