Adjacency diagram

In BriefBuilder’s navigation menu, under the header overviews, you can find something that is called an adjacency diagram, which is of particular relevance for when developing a design brief or architectural program for building projects.

An adjacency diagram (aka bubble diagram) is a visual overview of the adjacency relations between spatial objects in a model (i.e. spaces, groups of spaces, locations, buildings), as they have been defined in BriefBuilder. Each spatial object is visualised as circle (“bubble”) and the relation between two objects as a line.

Example of a ‘bubble diagram’ for office spaces

Below, we will explain more about the purpose and workings of this kind of diagram. You can also watch the video for a quick overview of the adjacency diagram and how it operates.


The prime purpose of an adjacency diagram is to explain how different functions or spaces should be positioned in relation to one another. For example explaining that the tea kitchen should be in proximity to the office area. Or, on an urban scale, that the shopping centre should be within walking distance from the bus stop.

It is the type of diagram that is often been used in PowerPoint presentations or management reports. Please note, however, that adjacency diagrams can be quite complex. It can be a good idea to zoom in on particular parts (use the scroller on your mouse) and/or exclude ‘groups’ by using the filter option (click on the icon) to make it more understandable.

If want to change things like the used colours or fonts, you can download the image in a vector format (by clicking on the icon). Subsequently, you can use programs like Adobe Illustrator or Microsoft Visio to modify the diagram.  

Input data

The adjacency diagram is generated on the basis of the data that has been defined in the BriefBuilder model. Specifically, it concerns the following data:

  • The spatial objects, as defined in the spaces tree.
  • The sizes and quantities of spaces, as defined in the standard property table on the detail view of each space.
  • The adjacency relations between spaces, as defined in the table adjacency relations on the detail view of a spatial object (see image below).

So, if you want make changes to the diagram (other than just visual changes), that is where you have to do it.

The (dotted) lines in the diagram represent the adjacency relations as they have been defined on the detail view of a spatial object. Note that such relations can have a specific attribute (e.g. spatially or visually connected) and a specific distance (where relevant).

Note that you can easily define the type and wording of these relations via the settings menu. To do so, go to Settings > Requirements > Picklists for relations

Go to ‘Picklists for relations’ if you want to define your own set of adjacency relations.

The relations between spatial objects can also be edited and presented in a table. For this, go to the cross tables – requirements in the navigation menu (under ‘Overviews’) and select the tree Spaces & locations for both rows and columns.


A BriefBuilder adjacency diagram can consist of the following elements:

Bubbles: each bubble represents a space. The size of a bubble indicates the object’s size in terms of square meters. The exact size is also shown inside the bubble.

Bubbles with white border line: these bubbles represent groups of spaces or other kinds of ‘parent’ objects, such as a building or location. Also here, the size is shown inside the bubble,

Continuous lines: these lines represent “part-of” relations. These are the same relations that are being used in the spaces tree, and indicate to which part of the building or area a spatial object belongs.

Dotted lines: These lines are the actual adjacency relations. They indicate how spatial objects should be located in relation to one another. The accompanying texts shows the nature of the relation (e.g. directly connected or visually connected) and, where relevant, the distance.

Arrows: arrows indicate that a relation has a particular direction. Most adjacency relations are directionless (connections and proximity relations work both ways), but, in some specific cases, you may want define a specific flow or sequence from one space to another.

This small diagram shows, amongst other things, that the building’s entrance area should feature a reception area (of 30 sqm), and that this reception area should be within 25 metres from the building’s hub/cafe (of 75 sqm), which is part of the entrance area as well.


There are a number of relevant actions when working with the diagram:

Filter: You can filter on what you get to see in the diagram by using the filter option (click on (). This is a crucial functionality because adjacency diagrams can be quite complex.

It is recommended to use the filter to focus on a specific part of the building (e.g. entrance area) and to show only the spaces (the lowest level of the tree).

Zoom: You can zoom in on a part of the diagram by using the scroll wheel on your mouse. Click on the icon to resize the diagram to your screen size.   

Download: You can download the image (by clicking on the icon) in a PNG format or a vector format. The advantage of the latter is that you can easily change the image (e.g. colours, fonts, …) in programs like Adobe Illustrator or Microsoft Visio for presentation purposes.  

Re-order: You can re-organise the diagram by clicking on a ‘bubble’ and then dragging it to a place where you want to have it.

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