Course syllabus


ARK142 Spatial morphology design studio lp3 VT20 (22.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Contact details

Course coordinator

Meta Berghauser Pont (

Gianna Stavroulaki (


Meta Berghauser Pont (

Teachers studio

Meta Berghauser Pont (

Gianna Stavroulaki (

Henrik Markhede (

Course purpose

The main goal of the studio is to strengthen students’ understanding of how urban form provides a framework and creates conditions for social and environmental processes in cities. Theories and methods in analytical Urban Morphology, especially network analysis (Space Syntax) and density analysis (Spacematrix), will be used to arrive at what can be called an evidence-based-design methodology. Through a better understanding of the relation between urban form and urban processes, you will be able to develop a design that engages with social processes (e.g. segregation), economic processes (e.g. local markets) and environmental processes (e.g. ecosystem services).

In teams, students will develop a Masterplan for parts of Gothenburg to then, individually, design a Key project that is central for this Masterplan. After the course students should have basic knowledge of the field of Urban Morphology and be able to use various analytical tools and apply this knowledge actively in a design project.



See for course schedule overview, Course description

Course literature

See for list of literature, Course description

Course design

The studio is organised around a sequence of connected workshops, laboratories in GIS, lectures, literature seminars – and the design studio. Workshops give room for experiments, lectures transfer knowledge and inspire, laboratories in GIS give the technical knowhow to conduct advanced spatial analysis, literature helps to deepen our understanding and critical reading of theories and methods available, and the design project synthesises all this. An excursion to Amsterdam is meant to inspire and is chose for its long tradition of masterplanning and the rich variety of solutions with both high densities and experimental public-private interfaces. In short:

  • The use of quantitative GIS (Geographic Information System) data is central for the work in the studio. Software and tutorials are provided early on in the project during so called laboratories (GISLAB in the schedule).
  • A series of workshops (WS in the schedule) is organised to apply advanced spatial analysis and theoretical knowledge in design problems and enable the students to quickly go through a ´design loop´ of analysing, designing alternatives and evaluating effects. Further, the workshops address dynamics in cities and designing for the ´unknown´. Particular attention will therefore be given to ´tools´ such as zoning and design rules. The workshops do not aim to find ideal solutions, but rather to understand the mechanisms at work.
  • The compendium of literature will give you more in depth understanding of the theories that address the main topics of the studio. Every week a relevant set of papers och book chapters is provided that will be discussed during two seminars (LS in the schedule). The literature should be actively used in the arguments used in the booklet, one of the end products of the course.
  • The design project is divided in two parts. During the first half of the semester students work in teams on a Masterplan and during the second half they continue with individual Key projects where the skills learned will be synthesised and applied. The end product aimed for is an ‘analysis driven performative design’, that is, a design that by way of analytical knowledge actually per-forms, and not only expresses, certain goals set by the student in relation to, for instance, social segregation.
  • Throughout the whole semester a series of lectures (L in the schedule) are scheduled given by experts from Chalmers, but also guests from other universities and practice.

 See for extended information, Course description

Communication between teachers and students takes place using Canvas and e-mail (send through Canvas). All information, including data is handled on Canvas. We will a specific software PST during the course for which you need to install the latest QGIS version on your laptop.  

PST is available in Canvas<Files<PST

PST Documentation, data and tutorials are available via:

The code is released under GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE and is available at

Learning objectives and syllabus

Knowledge &Understanding

  1. The student should be able to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the field of urban morphology, including its 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).
  2. The student should be able to apply the methods and theories central to the course in a design assignment where the design choices are supported by spatial analysis and argumentative texts.

Skills & abilities

  1. The students should be able to use GIS and PST software to analyse cities and neighbourhoods according to the theories and methods central to this course: Space Syntax and Spacematrix.
  2. The student should be able to apply the methods and theories central to the course in simplified design assignments.
  3. The student should be able to argument their design choices, using the methods and theories central to the course.
  4. The student should be able to communicate results convincingly in text, drawings and maps.

Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen.

Study plan

Examination form

The studio work will be examined at the final critics in June where the results of earlier deliverables will be included for the final grade. Besides the examiners and teachers involved, at least one external critic will be invited.  The deliverables for the final examination are the following:


A booklet will be made by the students summarizing the work done during the course with an active us of the literature discussed at the literature seminars. An introduction will be written by the examiner. The book will be produced by the students, but the main layout, coordination and printing is taken care of by Gianna Stavroulaki. Each masterplan/project is presented separately in the booklet. The book will be finalised and printed after the final presentation, but the masterplan part is already made and presented at midterm and the individual project part is made and presented at the 90% presentation. The literature should be actively used in the writing of the texts in the booklet.

90% Presentation

Two weeks before the final presentation, each student hands in the description of the project (using the layout of the booklet) and presents the work for the examiner and teachers. You receive feedback on both the written and oral presentation with clear recommendations for adjustments to be made before the final presentation.

Final Presentation

During the final critics, students present the masterplan (as a group) and key projects (individually) to invited external critics.


Posters will made to present the work in an exhibition in the entrance hall of ACE where it is important to communicate the results of the studio in groups that clearly can be identified as belonging to one and the same masterplan. Material from the booklet can of course be re-used. Deadline for the material for the exhibition, including drawing of the exhibition plan, is June 5, 17:00. Date for exhibition to be announced.

Workshop reports

Each workshop result is handed in the same week as the workshop is given. Students will receive detailed information about goals and deliverables at the start of the workshop.

Criteria for grading

Students will received transcripts with grades after the end of the term. The grade is a weighted average of the following aspects:

  1. Results: the result of the work for each element and the overall result. All assignments are combined in what is described as “Portfolio” in the course description. The separate elements taken into account are:
    • Masterplan (group)
    • Key-project (individual)
    • Workshop reports
    • Presence GIS laboratories
    • Presence at literature seminars and use of literature in the booklet
  2. Communication and presentation, including;
    • Oral presentation during the midterm and finals critics
    • Booklet
    • Exhibition
  3. Process: how the process, ongoing work has been carried out
  4. Progression: how much you have developed during the semester
  5. Attendance: obligatory attendance, less the 70% attendance pulls down your grades in all judgement criteria and 50% is a failed.
  6. Attitude: in class, towards the work, fellow students, and tutors.


Student representatives

Below you will find the student representatives that have been randomly selected for our studio:
ARK142 Spatial morphology design studio

MPDSD Juntian Chen
MPDSD Teresia Forsman
MPARC Beata Lindqvist
MPARC Marija Vuletic
MPARC Johan Wall

Course summary:

Date Details Due