Wayfinding in traditional Chinese private gardens: a spatial analysis of the Yuyuan garden

  • YEAR
    Yu, Rongrong
    Behbahani, Peiman Amini
    Ostwald, Michael
    Gu, Ning
    2015 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Environment and Landscape Architecture


This paper presents a study of wayfinding in a Traditional Chinese Private Gardens (TCPGs). One of the most well known features of the TCPG is its network of indirect pathways. These pathways shape the experience of the space and contribute to its perceptual and aesthetic properties. When walking through a TCPG, the pathway chosen is one of the dominant factors affecting a visitors’ spatial experience of the garden. But such is the complexity of the TCPG that understanding how people navigate through these spaces is relatively difficult. Therefore, this research explores the choice of walking paths in a TCPG using a mathematically derived analysis of the plan. One historic TCPG, the Yuyuan Garden, has been selected as a case study. The method used for the analysis is based on convex mapping, a Space Syntax technique. Three measurements derived from this analysis are extracted to capture essential topological patterns in the TCPG. The results identify the main paths and sub-paths people are likely to take when walking in this garden. Through this process the paper demonstrates a method for capturing the social and spatial properties of the TCPG and provides possible new insights into the properties of these important heritage sites.


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