VISUAL CONCEPTUALIZATION OF URBAN DESIGN – Cullen 1961 Tugnutt & Robinson 1967 THE SCHOLAR HIGHLIGHTED THE PERCEPTUAL AND SPATIAL QUALITIES OF THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT
TODAYS MENU URBAN ARCHITECTURE VISUAL APPROPRIATENESS Development size Local style - identity Massing Detailed design – frame + corner Scale Focal points / Landmarks Townscape
URBAN ARCHITECTURE The visual-aesthetic character of the urban environment derives not only from its spatial qualities, but also from the colour, texture and detailing of its defining surfaces. warm colours: seem to advance into a space; cool colours: give more spacious feelings; A space can also feel harsh and inhuman if its surfaces lack fine detail and interest at human scale. Activities occuring within and around a space can contribute to its character and sense of place.
URBAN ARCHITECTURE A space can feel harsh and inhuman if its surfaces lack fine detail and interest at human scale.
URBAN ARCHITECTURE MAIN ELEMENTS CONTRIBUTING TO THE VISUAL- AESTHETIC CHARACTER OF URBAN SPACE: ITS ARCHITECTURE AND ITS LANDSCAPING
URBAN ARCHITECTURE Architecture that responds and contributes positively to its context and to the definition of public realm. This excludes freestanding buildings, except as occasional element. Von Meiss: While the building fabric gives an image of continuity, of expansiveness, stretching to infinity, the object is a closed element, finite, comprehensible as an entity.
URBAN ARCHITECTURE Royal Fine Art Commission (RFAC) identified six criteria in attempting to understand what makes a good building. What is important is to avoid turning desirable principles into dogmatic imperatives.
Six criteria identified by the Royal Fine Art Commission (RFAC) Order and Unity Expression Integrity Plan & Section Detail Integration
A building could embody every criterion and still not be a good building. A good designer may successfully break the rules and still create good architecture.
Order and Unity In terms of building elements and facade design, order is manifested through the means: symmetry balance repetition the grid the bay the structural frame
Order and Unity At street level, unity may come from repetition of an architectural style, or less formally, from common underlying design patterns of motifs, or unifying elements such as: - building silhouette - consistent plot width - fenestration patterns - proportions - massing - the treatment of entrances - materials - details etc.
Expression The appropriate expression of the function of a building which enables us to recognize a building for what it is. While subject to debate, symbolic appropriateness is often considered a key requisite of good architecture: a house or a church should communicate its function. Symbolic differentiation produces a hierarchy of building types which increases the legibility of urban areas.
Expression A public building has a much larger scale, contrasting style, lavish detail and high quality materials, providing landmarks in the street scene: (most private buildings in the townscape should be backcloth buildings).
Integrity Through their form and construction, buildings should express the functions they and their individual parts fulfill; Spaces should reflect their purpose and express the structure and construction methods. The buildings should be visually appropriate in their form and construction
Plan & Section There should be a positive relationship between the buildings façade and its plan & section. (for two main reasons) - A building is designed as a totality in which the façade addresses the street in front and the plan and section that lie behind. - The relationship of section, plan and local context is fundamental in terms of the volume of development a site can accommodate (ie plot ratio)
Plan & Section Instances where this relation is false or weak are usually known as façadism – a functional and structural dishonesty between a buildings interior and exterior Richmond Riverside, London
Plan & Section a new building behind a retained historic façade. This is often a controversial issue in urban design and conservation
Detail When you are in an urban space, it is the details what holds your eye. Lack of detail impoverishes architecture and leaves us without a layer of experience that brings us into a close contact with a building where we can admire the beauty of the materials and the skill of the craftsman. Facades can be appreciated in terms of their visual richness (the interest and complexity that holds the eye) and elegance (a function of proportions that the eye finds pleasing and harmonious). Detail and visual interest help humanize environments. As buildings are seen in different ways- near and far, straight on or obliquely, detail is required at various scales, depending on their position in the townscape.
Small scale detail- important at ground floor level to provide visual interest for pedestrians. Larger scale detail – for viewing over longer distances. Details intensify about windows and doorways and at building corners. Appropriate emphasis of entrances allows users to read the façade facilitate movement from the public to private realm.
Integration Harmonization of a building with the surroundings and the qualities needed for this. Integration may sometimes be named as fitting in. This does not necessary means a slavish adherence to an architectural style. The stylistic dimension is only one aspect of fitting in.
Too much emphasis on this element denies the opportunity of innovation and excitement: visual criteria such as scale and rhythm are often more important. Many of the most successful groups of buildings are of dramatically different materials and styles (the buildings around the Piazza San Marco, Venice). Integration
A continuum of three basic approaches to creating harmony with the existing context can be identified. Each represents a different design philosophy. Stylistic uniformityContinuityJuxtaposition/ contrast
Integration Stylistic uniformity Imitation of the local architectural character and in the process, possibly diluting the qualities desired to be retained.
Integration Juxtaposition/ contrast New design, making few concessions to the existing architectural character. Although this can produce vibrant and successful contrast, the approach is eminently capable of a disastrous result in the form of arrogant exibitionism.
Continuity Involves interpretation- rather than simply imitation- of local visual character. Typifying postmodern architectural design, this approach reflects a desire for new development to reflect and develop the existing sense of place.
Development size Size/ volume of a particular development on a particular site is controled by plot ratios (gross floor area divided by site area), which are rather crude tools, as a given volume of development can be organized in various different ways. Plot ratios should, therefore, usually be accompanied by some form of indicative massing.
Massing The three dimensional disposition of building volume. The total three dimensional massing of a building is often described as a buildings form. The impact of new development needs to be considered from a range of viewing points and angles
Massing Single, monolithic forms that are not relieved by variations in massing. Boxlike facades and forms are disturbing when placed in a streetscape of older buildings that have varied massing and facade articulation. Breaking up uninteresting boxlike forms into smaller, varied masses such as are common on most of the surrounding buildings.
Detailed design – frame + corner When you are in an urban space, it is the details what holds your eye. Lack of detail impoverishes architecture and leaves us without a layer of experience that brings us into a close contact with a building where we can admire the beauty of the materials and the skill of the craftsman. Facades can be appreciated in terms of their visual richness (the interest and complexity that holds the eye) and elegance (a function of proportions that the eye finds pleasing and harmonious).
Detailed design – frame + corner Detail and visual interest help humanize environments. As buildings are seen in different ways- near and far, straight on or obliquely, detail is required at various scales, depending on their position in the townscape.
Detailed design – frame + corner Small scale detail- important at ground floor level to provide visual interest for pedestrians. Larger scale detail – for viewing over longer distances. Details intensify about windows and doorways and at building corners. Appropriate emphasis of entrances allows users to read the façade facilitate movement from the public to private realm.
Detailed design – frame + corner Corners form significant elements in the townscape, which the Victorians in particular celebrated through corner emphasis. In more recent times corners have frequently been ignored or treated negatively with building lines stepping back to leave wastelands and advertising hordings. - Positive corners are of four basic types – hinged, wrapped, flowing (convex and concave) and skyline emphasis
Scale Scale is the perception of an object relative to other objects around it and to our perceptions of those objects. Scale is more than size. Certain scale giving elements are particularly important because we all have a clear perception in our heads of their size: - Generic scale the size of building elements relative to thier context- windows, doors, steps, decoration, material etc.
Scale human scale The size of a building elements relative to the human body. A building can be understood to be of a human scale, or not, or in or out of scale with its surroundings
Scale Some modern buildings relate more closely to the scale of the machine than to the human- they exhibit an inhuman scale. In the past the limitations of the human body dictated the size of materials used in construction i.e brick sizes Larger buildings were carefully related to the human body in the detail and careful division of facades.
Focal points / Landmarks On key routes (paths) of a city, landmark buildings act as orientaion points, helping people to find their way around and to recognize places.
Focal points / Landmarks In Birmingham, the landmark of Central Hall helps people to recognize the legal precinct.
Focal points / Landmarks However New Street station is unrecogniza ble and there is no termination of focal point to denote the end of Corporation street.
Townscape Townscape results from the weaving together of buildings and all other elements of the urban fabric and street scene (trees, nature, water, traffic, advertisements,etc) so that –in Cullens phrase- visual drama is released.
Townscape According to Cullen, the main contention was that buildings seen together gave a visual pleasure which none can give separately. One building standing alone is experienced as architecture, but several together make possible an art other than architecture, an art of relationship.
Townscape Closed vista, Which puts a Building down and invites the Viewer to stand back and admire it
Townscape Defletion: The object Building is deflecting away from the right angle, thus arousing the expectation that it is doing this to some purpose.
Townscape Porjection and recession: Instead of the eye taking in the street in a single glance, as it would in a street with perfectly straight facades.