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Syllabus for

Academic year
ARK141 - Spatial morphology studio
Syllabus adopted 2016-02-18 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPARC
15,0 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Architecture
Department: 55 - ARCHITECTURE

Teaching language: English

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0108 Project, part A 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c    
0208 Project, part B 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c    

In programs



Professor  Lars Marcus
Universitetslektor  Meta Berghauser Pont


ARK140   Urban design and development 2C

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In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

Course specific prerequisites


The main goal of the studio is to strengthen students¿ understanding of how urban form and the physical structure of cities provides a framework and creates conditions for its social and environmental performativity. Theories and methods in analytical urban morphology, especially network analysis (Space Syntax) and density analysis (Spacematrix), will be introduced. After the course the participants should have a basic knowledge of the field and be able to independently discuss and analyze texts, plans and various forms of analytical tools and apply this knowledge actively in a design project.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

The student has a comprehensive knowledge of the field of spatial morphology including it's history and position within the broader field of urban morphology and the central theories and methods used to better understand the intrinsic logic of urban form and its impact on other processes (social, economic and environmental).The student has a comprehensive knowledge of the concepts density, distance (or centrality) and diversity. The students knows how to measure them and knows what this means in terms of building typologies, expected flows of people, and potential for certain land uses.
The student is able to perform spatial analysis using GIS (and additional plug-in software) and diligently interpret the results. The student is able to use this knowledge in a creative manner as part of the design process, switching smoothly between analysis, design, evaluation, and back to design again.
The student can use infographics, maps and other forms of representation to communicate the results of analysis and design in an effective way.


The studio starts with a series of workshops focused on central knowledge themes in a not too complex location, with the aim to introduce theory by practice and enable the students to quickly go through a ¿design loop¿ of analyzing, designing alternatives and evaluate effects. The aim is to, firstly, understand how the current situation creates limits and opportunities and map these; secondly, how to make use of these opportunities, or change or enhance them, and at the same time control for negative or positive effects.
During the second half of the course students work on a larger project where skills learned in the earlier phases will be synthesized and applied in a more complex situation comprising several themes and design tasks. The end product aimed for is an ¿analysis driven performative design¿, that is, a design that by way of analytical knowledge actually performs, and not only expresses, certain goals set by the student in relation to, for instance, social segregation, local markets or ecosystem services.


David Harvey, Space as Keyword, 2006, in, D. Harvey, Spaces of Global Capitalism - Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development, Verso, Londres, pp. 119-148.
Bill Hillier, Cities as movement economies, 1996, in, B. Hillier, Space is the machine, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 149-182.
Leslie Martin & Lionel March,1972, The grid as generator, in, L. Martin & L. March, Urban space adn structures, Cambridge Unviersity Press, Cambridge, UK, pp.
Berghauser Pont, M. and P. Haupt, 2010, Spacematrix. Space, density and urban form, NAi Publishers, ch. 3&4.
Steadman, P., Density and built form: integrating Spacemate with the work of Martin and March¿, in: Environment and Planning B, vol. 40.
Moudon, A-V., 1992, A Catholic approach to organizing what urban designers should know, in: Journal of Planning Literature, vol. 6, no. 4.
Rebecca Solnit, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas, 2013
Rebecca Solnit, Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, 2010
Edward A Tufte The visual display of quantitative information, 1983
AD, Brooden & Mc Creery, New Babylon
Nato Thompson, Experimental Geography, 2008
Stephen Marshall, 2012, Science, pseudo-science and urban design, in: Urban design international, vol 17, pp. 257-271
Nes, A. van, Berghauser Pont, M. Mashhoodi, B., 2012, Combination of Space Syntax with Spacematrix and the Mixed use index. The Rotterdam South test case. In: Proceedings 8th Space Syntax Symposium.
Legeby, A. Berghauser Pont, M and L. Marcus, 2015, Streets for co-presence Mapping potentials, in: Proceedings 10th Space Syntax Symposium.


Midterm critiques and final critiques will serve as main factors for grading, though deliveries from each workshop will be accounted for when setting grades. Attending lectures and studio work will also be accounted for. 

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.