Navigating Complex Buildings: Cognition, Neuroscience and Architectural Design

Conference paper


This paper provides a tentative set of ideas which attempt to draw together research from neuroscience, spatial cognition and architecture (space syntax). It starts by considering the questions, “What does the brain do during the navigation of complex built space and how does it map it?” “What can cognitive studies tell us about navigation in complex buildings?” and “What does space syntax measure about structures of space and what does it tell us?” These questions serve as the starting point for the establishment of a framework for future collaborative efforts to bring together these disparate areas but with the fundamental aim of ultimately supporting architects to design more user-friendly buildings.


Spatial Cognition Place Cell Retrosplenial Cortex Space Syntax Survey Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



To Peg Rawes (Senior Lecturer, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL) and Kate Jeffery (Professor and Director of Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience, UCL) for jointly organizing the “Spatial Thinking: visualising spatial thinking in architecture and neuroscience” one-day, interdisciplinary seminars in February 2010, which sparked off many of the ideas presented in this paper and to John O’Keefe (Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL) for some of his comments during the event, which were equally as inspirational.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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