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A Bisociative Approach to Design: Integrating Space Syntax into Architectural Education

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Teaching Urban Morphology

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Abstract

Space syntax is a significant theory and tool that describes buildings and cities as evolutionary processes, offering valuable support to architectural and urban design. However, theory and analytical research are different from the processes that characterise the generation of ideas in design practice. This chapter elaborates first, on the differences and intersections of analytical knowledge and intentional design, and second, on some projects charged with integrating space syntax analysis into the studio. Considering design as a propositional field manipulating elements and relations through intuition and logical order, we argue that classification forms a crucial concept in design thinking, serving as a tool for design generation and invention. We propose a ‘bisociative’ approach as the intellectual synthesis of relations in two domains, the ‘form-of-a-class’ and the ‘syntax-of-a-class’. The former refers to conceptual relations of similarity and difference in design, while the latter describes network properties among elements of built space. Based on the membership of elements in the same or different domains, we identify two fundamental modes of design operation, the ‘convergent’ and ‘divergent’ modes. Bisociation can be used in the design studio to generate ideas while maintaining intellectual synthesis and rigour.

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Psarra, S., Kostourou, F., Krenz, K. (2018). A Bisociative Approach to Design: Integrating Space Syntax into Architectural Education. In: Oliveira, V. (eds) Teaching Urban Morphology. The Urban Book Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-76126-8_13

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