Exploring Traditional Iranian house and culture using Space Syntax theory and methods, Case Study: Brojerdiha Mansion, Kashan, IRAN


PhD, graduate student, School of Architecture, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


The main aim of the current paper is to explore the Iranian traditional houses cultural properties by space syntax theory and methods, using spatial configuration most recent developments and computer based techniques. The paper initially took a brief introduction to the spatial configuration theory fundamentals and core ideas. It starts with the book by Bill Hillier and Julianne Hanson, the social logic of space and then proceed to the bible of the theory, Space is the Machine. More than that, recent publication and papers which has had a huge impact on the theory were cited wherever it was necessary. All the theory and methods are applied to a case study from Iranian traditional houses in order to demonstrate its hidden geometries and structures underpin its forms and functions. recent studies in space syntax proved the fact that Patterns of movement inside buildings are generated from the spatial configuration. Besides, it has been proven that Movement patterns are correlated with space syntax through measure of ‘integration’. In order to show the cultural and social effects of a design, space syntax applies a graph representation on any kind of traditional house. This graph can be analyzed as a system of connections between spaces. The system of connections then appears to have effects on the movement patterns of the residences in a traditional house. Furthermore, the movement patterns affect the cultural values and the social relation in big families living in the traditional houses. With spatial configuration tools and methods, the causal links between the cultural and social factors and architectural design can be revealed.The method is definitely a strong method of advanced architectural analysis because of the fact that seeking the underpinned structures in architecture have not been so usual before the advent of computers and its developments. Although the axial and convex analysis were developed before computer and quantitative techniques, emerging technologies and computers analytical powers has a great influence on its further developments. The case study that will be presented in detail served as a proto-type for Iranian traditional houses to understand whether axial lines and convex maps could show the social and cultural effects of traditional house design in Iran or not. A graph has been applied on the ground floor plan of the house and then it has been simulated in depth map software. Depth map software capable the researcher in analyzing the graph. The causal links between the graph and the properties of the traditional house design have been clarified for further studies. Borojerdiha Mansion, Kashan has been selected as a case study to uncover the understructures that underpinned the traditional architecture in Iran. The reason to select the Mansion was firstly, its prestigious role in Iranian architecture, Qajar era in one hand, complexity and multi-use spaces in its plan, which makes it a suitable case study for analysis, on the other hand. The outcomes of simulations provide a ground for showing the causal links between design and the social and cultural aspects of the mansion. The integration value of the main movement corridors shows a high value of causal links with the social interaction locations of the residences.