Spatial Morphology

4 Types of Space

In shared space, there are four (4) kinds of space that need to be included in the design to provide focus and comfort for a variety of activities and personality types.  The types are:

  1. We can both see each other
  2. Neither of us can see the other
  3. I/We can see you (singular or plural), but you can’t see me/us
  4. You can see me/us, but I/We can’t see you

It’s important to provide all the types because when you have a small organization or a team that handles a wide variety of jobs and tasks, they will need the difference spatial experiences to help them focus and meet the current challenge.  In addition to providing the spaces, helping the team understand how they might be useful can be very helpful.

Seam vs. Overlap

When we think about creating space and how we occupy or experience it, most people start by thinking of discreet objects.  The initial question is what happens when I push them together.  As you begin to think of it as something to be occupied. . . this is something you are inside instead of something you are looking at on a page - the amazing thing you see is what happens when you begin to address the transition between spaces as an opportunity to overlap.

diagram - seam vs overlap.jpg

In cities, the best place to see this is the transition between two neighborhoods.  Does each exist as a discreet location?  A neighborhood with a sign and even a fence often reached by driving on a divided highway.  What happens when those neighborhoods have less buffer between them. . . it might just be a street, but the way that street comes to life can determine the health of those neighborhoods.  So many of our streets are designed to separate cars and people instead of being a place for them to come together.


NOTE:  All the diagrams for this blog are taken from scraps of paper and my to do list.  Don't be distracted by random words, like those above.  If you see something and have questions, just put it in the comments or email the office at and someone will find out for you.