“Spatial DNA” of Traditional Houses as a Catalyst for Resilient and Sustainable Future: The Case of Oman

Chaham Alalouch, Hamida Al Azri, Buthaina Al Shabibi, Maria Al

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


In the era of globalization, technology, and environmental sustainability requirements, domestic buildings are conceptualized, designed, and constructed with little attention being given to the socio-cultural dimension. This is in spite of the importance of this dimension in creating a truly sustainable and resilient built environment. The socio-cultural dimension was often one of the main drivers behind the vernacular architecture and formed a major part of the identity of the society. However, studies in the field of vernacular architecture have traditionally focused on the documentation, conservation, and rehabilitation strategies while the configurational structures of these houses are often neglected. The need for a proper understanding of the social logic impeded in traditional houses is, therefore, indisputable. By focusing on Oman, this study aims to explore whether traditional houses share a common “spatial DNA” across the different climatic zones of the country in order to inform the development of a distinctive architectural identity for contemporary house typologies. The study employs Space Syntax methodology to quantify the spatial structure of six traditional Omani houses, which cover the three climatic zones of Oman. This was followed by an analytical-comparative exploration and a systematic categorization of the spaces in these houses based on their syntactic characteristics. The results showed that the spatial arrangements of the sample share common spatial features that correspond to the custom of the society. However, these common spatial features are limited to local measures. The study concludes that the spatial identity of traditional houses should be further studied so it could be incorporated in the contemporary house typology in order to preserve the spatial identity that corresponds to people’s values, aspirations, and socio-cultural needs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 13th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2022
EditorsAkkelies van Nes, Remco E. de Koning
PublisherWestern Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL)
ISBN (Electronic)9788293677673
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event13th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2022 - Bergen, Norway
Duration: Jun 20 2022Jun 24 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings 13th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2022


Conference13th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2022


  • Cultural identity
  • Heritage
  • House genotype
  • Oman
  • Space Syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this