The topological relations of corner buildings at street junctions


As in furniture and product design, the handling of features such as junctions of street facades is a matter worthy of consideration. The article considers the role of the corner and corner buildings in the architectural relations of the street. It examines the role of corners in the urban structure and the reasons why they are no longer much used. A typology of corner building arrangements is proposed. Referring to affordance, legibility and Weber᾽s (1995) psychological approach to perceived architectural space, the paper discusses the value of clearly articulated corner constructions using selected examples.

The dominant modes of building in the post-WWII period tend towards two extremes: high rise/high density and low rise/low density, both often characterised by disconnected building masses. Both modes reject the well-developed formats generally used up to the 1920s. These relied on moderate density, moderate height and conjoined buildings to create clearly defined, legible streets characteristic of an integrated urban fabric. This paper argues that certain morphologies make for better corner designs leading to more understandable street layouts. It also argues that quantitative recommendations in planning guidance are insufficient to ensure desirable outcomes in street design.

Keyword : urban planning, corner design, building typology, Modernism, morphology, affordance

How to Cite
Herriott, R. (2016). The topological relations of corner buildings at street junctions. Journal of Architecture and Urbanism, 40(4), 322-334.
Published in Issue
Dec 14, 2016
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