"An Investigation into Children's Perceptions of Architectural Space "There are children playing in the street who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago." J Robert Oppenheimer, Physicist With regard to works previous (Stea &Taphanel, Tolman, Vygotsky et al), this hypothesis is formulated that, in relation to perception of space in the western world, young children have a fundamentally different understanding to that of adults. If this holds true, it could raise certain issues with the ways in which architects design buildings in terms of spatial awareness, orientational understanding and building language. This paper discusses the background to the hypothesis, outlines the questions that must be answered in order to improve the building design process and highlights the methodologies by which these questions will be addressed. Concerning cerebral lateralization, it has been demonstrated that pre-school children exercise their right hemisphere in an intensive way whilst simultaneously exercising their left hemisphere in the processing of language and through the production of speech (Springer, SP & Deutch, G, 1998). However, at the onset of formal education, the right hemisphere processes of imagination and intuition appear to be disregarded; hence the left becomes the dominant hemisphere (Edwards, B, 2001). The functions of the left hemisphere, through schooling, are being formalised * the logic is being aligned * whilst the right hemisphere is given much less encouragement and so logic appears to surpass intuition. In regards to spatial awareness * a logical understanding of space takes over from the base intuition of youth. It is suggested that in the western world, men and women only use half the mental capacity that it is available to them (Ornstein, R, 1975). By focussing on the left hemisphere and in many ways ignoring the education and the potential of the right, western civilisation is not reaching the potential that it could if using the brain to its full extent. (Ornstein, R, 1975) Those who receive formal schooling, especially from a young age, tend to become much more reliant on logical methods, rather than spatial methods of learning and understanding (Molfese, DL & Segalowitz, SJ, 1998). It is possible that, at present, the design of the built environment not only inhibits children, but also, due to a lack of understanding into their needs, is giving out signals to which they have a completely different response than adults expect of them (Stea & Taphanel, 1974). When considered, this highlights certain moral issues regarding how designers should respond to the people for whom they are designing. If children do indeed have a different perception of space to that of adults, then how can designers maximize the use of this knowledge and understanding to the fullest potential when creating space? By applying the fields of child psychology, sociology and neurology to the notion of architectural space, the intent of this research is to determine the most crucial ways in which children's perceptions and reactions differ, in some ways substantially, to those of adults. It will be tested by natural investigation, within two spatially different buildings with separate groups of children and adults of Scottish working class culture by looking at their personal and social cognitive maps by means of physical, verbal, drawn and written outputs. The natural potential for further research into this, in the future, would be to initiate a design based study to create a child specific space which then responds correctly to the needs of children and could be used to evaluate the conclusions."