Universal Space Theory In Architecture

What is architecture design theory?

A set of concepts and ideologies that guide designers in the creation of structures are known as architectural design theories. There are several theories, each with its own distinct purpose and point of view. Universal space theory is one of them. It is a design concept that focuses on the importance of utilizing space efficiently.

The philosophy is rooted in the idea that the infrastructure should be built for a universal purpose rather than being dedicated to a single function. This indicates that buildings should be adaptive and flexible. The idea of Universal Space Theory has been influenced by a number of architectural movements, including the international style and modernism. These movements emphasized the importance of functionality and simplicity.

Ideologies of universal space theory:

While the goal was to create structures that were not only aesthetically pleasing but also useful, the major pillars of the Universal Space Theory revolve around:

  1. Openness
  2. Adaptation
  3. Flexibility
While having various meanings, these three ideas are connected

While having various meanings, these three ideas are connected.

  • The design involves utilizing materials, spatial arrangements, and architectural features to promote visual and physical connectivity between the user and the structure.
  • Windows or glass walls that enable natural light to pour into the space while offering good visibility of the surroundings.
  • With the use of flexible floor plans allowing spaces  to be reconfigured as needed.
  • The selection of appropriate materials and design features fosters a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
  • Design elements including moveable walls, open floor designs, modular construction, and adaptable zoning allow for flexibility in a given space.
  • Adapting to the changing needs and applications may also improve sustainability by prolonging the usable life of a structure and minimizing the need for new construction.

The Universal Space Theory is a concept that has evolved through time as a result of the work of several architects and designers; hence, no one is considered as its “creator.” Although there are architects who have implemented this concept in their design philosophies, integrating it with their design style.

Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier pioneered the notion of flexible, interchangeable rooms that could be used for a variety of functions in the early twentieth century, producing a modular architectural concept known as the “Dom-Ino House.” This system was created using a simple, expandable architecture that allowed for a large number of combinations.

Open plans with RCC slabs
  • An open floor layout with reinforced concrete slabs eliminating load bearing walls and support beams for roofs.
  • A small number of columns around the perimeter supporting the slabs.
  • Undulated glass surfaces on the façade allow for natural light to pour in.
  • A structural system with a frame fully independent of the plans was designed .

Buckminster Fuller

This theory piqued his curiosity since it was in line with his idea of doing “more with less.” He was able to successfully enclose large-volume, column-free regions with little weight and resources by developing unique Geodesic dome constructions.

  • Lesser building materials are required due to smaller surface area.
  • Natural circulation is created by the concave interior, which allows hot or cold air to circulate equally around the dome.

Mies van der Rohe

The principle of “less is more” served as the foundation of Mies van der Rohe’s architecture. He valued uncluttered, wide spaces without any ornamentation. He usually used expansive spaces with minimal walls, which provided him the greatest amount of freedom in how the space might be used. Farnsworth House is an apt example of this.


  • The walls are made of transparent plate glass, while the supporting structure is made of steel pillars allowing transparency and blurring the boundary between interior and exterior surroundings.
  • The interior of the house is minimalistic and functional, with a single open-plan space that contains a living area, dining area, and sleeping area. \

The promise of the Universal Space Theory has recently been expanded upon by architects such as Rem Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid, who have built buildings and structures that are flexible, adaptable, and responsive to human requests.

This methodology emphasizes how important it is to create spaces that can accommodate a variety of cultures, climates, and uses. While it dates back many years, its ideas are still relevant to contemporary architecture. A broad range of user needs and preferences are increasingly being taken into account while creating structures. In line with contemporary architectural trends towards more adaptable, efficient, and environmentally conscious designs, Universal Space Theory places a strong focus on sustainability, adaptation, and simplicity. Architects that apply the principles of universal space theory to their work may create environments that are more user-friendly, effective, and flexible.