Accessibility links


Top Navigation

Urban Design Compendium


Building Size and Scale

The scale, size and configuration of a building have an impact on the sustainability (energy consumption), relationship with the surrounding urban structure and the contribution to the neighbouring space.

enlarge image

Active enclosed public space created with medium rise mixed-use buildings

Building Height:

  • Tall buildings act as focal points, emphasise hierarchy i.e. of urban activity such as town centres or transport links
  • They have a positive role to play in signifying locations of civic, commercial or visual importance
  • In many urban areas tall buildings will be placed on corners, end of vistas etc. Medium size building will instead provide the optimum form due to their ability to accommodate a range of uses
  • Problems of different juxtapositions can be resolved by a variety of measures i.e. wrapping large spaces with small buildings
  • Negative effects equate to the intensification of micro-climatic conditions, environmental performance of neighbouring buildings and the reduction in active frontages

Building Depth:

  • Building depth impacts upon artificial lighting and ventilation
  • Impacts upon the ability for flexible internal planning
  • Impacts upon the energy efficiency of the building
  • Orientating the building so that its long side faces onto the street can rectify many of thee problems, creating a more versatile form of design

Corner:

  • Are visually important. Acting as gateways or focal points
  • Corner buildings can be staggered in height, with the highest angle on the immediate corner
  • They can have two frontages and can, potentially, have more frontages
  • Provide great opportunities for mix uses

Building Width:

  • Width can have an impact on the flexibility of a building, active frontage etc
  • Buildings comprising 5-7m wide day lit ‘cells’ or ‘modules’ provide an extremely flexible forms

 

Download 'Detailing the Place' in PDF form

See case studies for 'Detailing the Place'