Spatial-Configurational Comparison

This was a project I worked on with Systematica in Milan. The project was to evaluate the inter-floor connections in a complex 7-storey shopping center.

The architects requested an evaluation of the original plans, and for proposals to improve the arrangements of the buildings' stairs, elevators, and escalators. Our team evaluated the proposal for its overall layout, pedestrian flows, and connections to the exterior shops and urban environment -- my task was to examine connections of spaces in the building, and to determine how they could be improved.

The first step was to determine what is a 'good' spatial layout of a shopping center and what is 'bad'. It is a shopping mall -- the developers want to charge high rents to all the shops, and in turn the shop owners want to get as much footfall and shoppers visiting as possible. So the strategy I developed was to maximize the potential for each shop to attract customers and to minimize the degree to which shops in less desirable locations are disconnected from the rest of the center.

In spatial terms, this meant examining the 'integration' of the shops. Integration is a measurement of (in this case) the natural ability to access each of the shops, considering the shopping mall as a single functioning unit. Integration or 'Shopability' depends on the lines of sight to the shops, their distance to each other and to the main inter-floor connections, as well as the size and location of the unit.

My contribution fed into the team's overall proposal which was to add an escalator and change the positioning of a few other ones. Particularly, I was able to demonstrate in my work at what point adding another inter-floor connection became unnecessary, which was a great indicator to the team and helped us narrow down our proposals significantly.

This is my favorite project I have worked on to date -- it was an excellent blend of independent and team work, strategic and design thinking, and a great example of how Space Syntax and statistics can be used to justify design decisions and narrow down potential proposals.



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