Examining the Occluded Space in a Museum Gallery through User’s Cognition and Space Morphology

Bayram Ç., Şalgamcıoğlu M. E.

13th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2022, Bergen, Norway, 20 - 24 June 2022 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Bergen
  • Country: Norway
  • Keywords: exploration, mystery, Occluded Space, occlusivity, spatial preference
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Obstacles conceal some part of an area which then can create feelings of mystery, curiosity, and exploration. This occluded section is not fully visible in its surroundings, but perceivable by locomotion. There is a limited capacity to see and move. In that sense, this paper scrutinizes the occluded space and occlusivity value of a museum space through users’ perceptions and preferences. Occlusivity is not defined by the physical boundaries of space, it contains ambiguity, uncertainty, and is an indistinct part of the visual experience of a space. In some cases, occlusivity is a measure of mystery (Dosen & Ostwald, 2016; Yu & Ostwald, 2018) and Kaplan (1979) explains "mystery" in reference to the environment as the “promise of more information”. Therefore, occlusivity as such can be an indicator of mystery that evokes feelings of excitement and exploration. To illustrate, obstacles in museums can create mystery, spark curiosity and promote the desire for satisfying this curiosity, thus characterizing the motivation behind most free choices (Madsen and Jensen, 2020). This research investigates whether or not there is a correlation between mystery and occlusivity values. In this context, the Arter Contemporary Art Museum in Istanbul, Turkey was selected as the case study for research purposes. Also used for this research is isovist-based syntactic analysis and the tracing of visitors’ routes regarding the spatial experience which contains the number of contact and preference for the occluded spaces. The role of occluded spaces in a configuration in order to understand whether or not they are an attractor is examined through geometrical and spatial meanings. In this study, a correlated relation was found between the gallery’s occluded areas that were associated with mystery and user preference.