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Communication Patterns

Space Syntax was developed in the 1970s by Bill Hillier at the Bartlett School, University College London (UCL).

Initially Space Syntax was used exclusively as an analysis and planning tool for urban scale scenarios. Today it is being used across all architectural scales from rooms to buildings and large cities.  Space Syntax incorporates various analytical methods such as isovists (visibility graph analysis). One limitation of this analysis method is that it currently works only in plan and cannot be utilized for the analysis of vertical communication patterns.

Together with researchers at the Centre for Knowledge Architecture in Dresden we have developed a tool that overcomes this limitation, by extending the scientific analysis of isovists into the third dimension. For example, this allows us to analyse the visual connectivity across multiple levels within a high-rise building through the introduction of a vertical void. The aim was to develop a communicative zone for interaction, exchange and distraction by maximizing the vertical view axis.


Communication is an essential factor for the development of innovation in knowledge-driven businesses and institutions. Through an exchange of ideas and information, range of current competencies and ideas of the staff can be exponentially intensified. This contributes to the long-term performance of the company.

Since 1992, HENN has collaborated with Prof. Thomas Allen of the Sloan School of Business at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, CT on the research field of organisation and architecture of innovation. Netgraphing is an analysis tool to visualise communication networks and patterns. It maps the existing structure and intensity of communication patterns in a company and displays the normally invisible flow of information exchange. The data of individual communication flows can be amalgamated to produce a collective image for the entire business. This is subsequently categorized and sorted according to specific parameters.

Hillier B. and Hanson J. (1984), The Social Logic of Space, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge Hillier B. (1999), Space is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture, Cambridge University Press Hillier B. (1983), Space Syntax: A Different Urban Perspective, Architects Journal, vol. 178, no. 48, Nov. 30, pp. 47-63.