Analysis of asymmetric spatial configuration

Mio Naganuma, Tatsuya Kishimoto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Architectural spaces have "visual asymmetry" and "access asymmetry." Visual asymmetry is the relation in which we can observe one space, but cannot be observed from there. Observing an interrogation room through a one-way mirror is an extreme example with which we are familiar through films. Such an asymmetry also occurs in the relation between a balcony and the ground. We can observe a street or a plaza from a balcony, but if we are on the ground, we cannot observe everything in a balcony. This asymmetry is caused by a complex relation between accessibility and visibility. Taniguchi and Kishimoto (2012) proposed a method for analysing this complex relation. Access asymmetry, in contrast, is the relation wherein we can access one space, but cannot be accessed from there. Such an asymmetry occurs at turnstiles that are in an amusement park or a theatre, on a moving walkway, and on an escalator. Movement through these spaces limits a direction, and thus we have a choice of only one direction. It seems that these spaces determine some directions for our activities. This study systematically describes spatial models, including visual asymmetry and access asymmetry. It also describes depth based on four types of ideas for asymmetric visibility and accessibility, including view depth and viewed depth as proposed by Taniguchi and Kishimoto. This study presents some examples wherein we analysed architectural spaces that have a simple structure. Specifically, one case is a space with an atrium (it has asymmetry caused by a combination of visibility and accessibility), and another is a space with an escalator (it has access asymmetry). For comparison, we also analysed a space that does not have an atrium, or a space that has stairs instead of an escalator. We show four types of justified maps based on visibility depth, accessibility depth, view depth, and viewed depth, and demonstrate the difference in the character of the depths. In addition, we calculate the integration value for each depth. We compare a justified map and the integration value between an asymmetrical space and a symmetrical space. Thus, this study quantitatively discusses the spatial character caused by a spatial structure's having visual asymmetry and access asymmetry.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSSS 2015 - 10th International Space Syntax Symposium
PublisherSpace Syntax Laboratory, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London
ISBN (Print)9780993342905
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event10th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2015 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 2015 Jul 132015 Jul 17


Other10th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Accessibility
  • Atrium
  • Escalator
  • Turnstile
  • Visibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science


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