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The Bartlett School of Architecture

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About us

The Bartlett’s Space Syntax Laboratory is an interdisciplinary research and teaching unit that has pioneered the study of the patterns of space contained in and between buildings – a vital factor in the function of communities and organisations.

The Space Syntax Laboratory was established in 1972 by Professor Bill Hillier and grew out of a realisation that one aspect of the built environment is key to its social function, and also to its failures, and this is the pattern of space contained within and between buildings.

It is space that we occupy and move through, in which we come into contact one with another, and this form of contact is prerequisite for social interaction and economic transaction.

The patterning of space – the result of architectural design – is therefore a crucial component in the social and economic functioning of organisations and communities. In other words, architectural design matters.


    Contact us

    Professor Alan Penn
    Professor in Architectural and Urban Computing
    Dean of The Bartlett, UCL Faculty of the Built Environment
    Email: a.penn@ucl.ac.uk

    Dr Sean Hanna
    Director of MSc programme in Architectural Computation
    Email: s.hanna@ucl.ac.uk

    Dr Kayvan Karimi
    Senior Lecturer
    Director of MRes programme in Spatial Design: Architecture and Cities
    Email: k.karimi@ucl.ac.uk

    Dr Sophia Psarra
    Reader of Architecture and Spatial Design
    Director of MSc programme in Spatial Design: Architecture and Cities
    Email: s.psarra@ucl.ac.uk


    MPhil/PhD students


    Academic visits

    We welcome applications from visiting PhD students and post-doctoral visitors to study alongside our own students. You’d join a close-knit, multidisciplinary unit with a large Architectural Space and Computing PhD programme and a suite of MSc and MRes courses, all benefiting from a constant synergy between research, teaching and consultancy. 

    Visiting PhD students

    Research students from overseas universities can apply to study with our own students for three to six months by including a 1500-2000-word research proposal, outlining how you’ll benefit from your time at the lab.

    For more information, go to the UCL Visiting Research Students page.

    Affiliate academics (post-doctoral visitors)

    Academics from overseas institutions can apply to pursue research in the field of space syntax, either individually or in collaboration with UCL staff, for up to a year. You’ll need to contact a member of staff at the lab to act as your host, and submit an outline research proposal and a plan of work.

    You’ll find more on UCL’s Affiliate Academics scheme here.