What are "urban building typologies"?



I am a bit confused by this term - "urban building typologies".

If it was "architectural building typologies", then I guess I could name something like these: Museums, city halls, hospitals, schools, residential buildings (or am I wrong?)

But with this "urban" addition I guess the term gets a whole new meaning.
Can somebody explain it to me, what are "urban building typologies"?


Thank you.

Mar 17, 13 3:10 am
In Spain we use different building typologies to plan the city in an urban scale. These typologies depends on dimensions and shapes which will conform the areas between streets and public spaces related. In a very simply way you can list these building typologies this way: squared, rectangled blocks, other shaped blocks and towers...
Mar 17, 13 4:39 am

Thank you for the reply Juan,

Do you think this "urban" part needs to be translated as "urban planning"?

Is there a way the "urban" may have some other context in this context: "urban building typologies"?

Mar 17, 13 4:45 am

Not all buildings are built in an urban setting.  Perhaps the "urban" in the phrase you're reading refers to dense city environments, as opposed to elsewhere.

Mar 17, 13 12:36 pm

Thank you for the reply citizen.
Maybe all this confusion was caused by me, as I was not clear and exact.

One of the essay titles for the fourth semester at Architectural Bachelor program is named following:

"Potential of brick-based structural systems in urban building typologies".

Does this change the meaning of the "urban building typologies" taken from this perspective?


Thank you.

Mar 17, 13 1:13 pm

No, I don't believe it changes anything about my interpretation.  Good luck in your semester!

Mar 17, 13 1:30 pm

Thank you for the reply and wishes citizen.

Could I ask you clarify a bit your first reply then?

A building can be a single house for example, without any other houses around. And a building can be a tower in a dense block of buildings.

Is that what you have said?

Some sort of Free-standing house in the middle of the country side and buildings in the city down-towns. Those are urban building typologies"?

Sorry If I misunderstood you.

Mar 17, 13 1:54 pm

I can only give my interpretation of this term.  I don't know if this is the same as the article you refer to.  For that, you'll have to read it.

And, yes, your summary above is generally what I meant.  Building types designed for urban settings can differ quite a bit from those for rural or suburban settings.

Mar 17, 13 2:17 pm

There is no article, there is just a list of couple of possible thesis titles, for the essay. This title confused me, that is why I asked for help here.

Mar 17, 13 4:09 pm
Like Citizen, I don't know exactly what does the article pretend to be. When I talked about those typologies I assume a dense city context, and the common typologies in Spain, but the first statement I made can be translated to a rural or suburban context using single family housIng with the variations this tipology can have ( the ones you mentioned...).
Pay attention that a bricked structure will be supported by walls, so the possibilities of different typologies will be limited to the dimensions these structures can have.
Good luck with your lessons.
Mar 18, 13 12:56 pm

Ok, I do not have any further explanation on this either.
So can we conclude at the end on the basis of the only thing we have (and that is the thesis title itself: "Potential of brick-based structural systems in urban building typologies"):

So urban building typologies could be understood in context of different building types in different areas - urban (cities, and city centers), suburban (suburbs and housing attached to cities) and rural (single house surrounded by large farm fields).
Each of these areas could additionally be divided - for example buildings in urban areas could be 4 story 1900's brick building. Or it could be a 30 story 1950's building. Additionally we can divide all this buildings by it' functions - residential, commercial and so on.
The same goes for suburban and urban - we could divide the suburban ones as single family, double house or house in a row.

I am a bit confused by that last rural category as I do not know what "division" could be applied there.

Is that it?

(I am not playing smart, just trying to summarize what both of you told me)

Mar 18, 13 2:10 pm
vado retro

SBVs are not typical brick veneers. Are you writing about SBVs? It sounds to me that this question (and maybe you should ask the professor who wrote the question for your own sake) is asking you to write about the design precedents and perhaps the capabilities of structural based brick systems on buildings that are found in an urban context with an urban typography which to me means civic and institutional buildings rather than grain elevators, suburban shopping malls  or single family dwelling units.

Mar 18, 13 3:22 pm

Hi Vado, and thank you for the information.

I would like to ask him (the professor) but I missed the consultations term some 9 days ago. The exam period started and in that time professors are not at the university, except on the day of exam, and when the consultation term is scheduled. So I guess it is my guilt for not showing up on time.


By the way, what are "SBVs"?

Could you clarify a bit for me the "design precedents"? By this you mean describing construction technology and details of the former bricked-built buildings?

Mar 18, 13 3:56 pm
vado retro

Where do you go to school? Are you in a city of some note? Do they have architects in your city? I would get on the horn and call some and ask them if they have used brick based structural systems and how that choice impacted their design decisions or how their initial designs lead to them to choose a brick based structural system.

Mar 18, 13 4:45 pm

Thank you for the link Vado.
But I am not able to open it (it seems the website is using login accounts).

Never mind about the link, I am more interested in my upper question, if you could answer. Please.

The university is in city of Nis, Serbia. I am currently in my hometown, a much smaller city, but there are few architects here too.

About the brick system:
I am informed about the structural engineering part of the brick design buildings. That part is not a problem. Distance between the walls (slabs span) vary from 5-7.5m depending on the thickness of the brick wall and type of the slab. Number of floors depend on the type of construction and on seismic region in which the building will be built.
I know that everything starts with structural engineering and actual architectural object depends on it's construction.

But the thesis is from the "Institute of Architecture" part of the university, not "Constructions". So I doubt that I will need to deal with the structural engineering constraints.

Or in case I still have to name those structural constraints , what would be the architectural part of the thesis?

Mar 18, 13 5:29 pm
vado retro

well a brick veneer wall and a structural brick veneer wall are not the same thing and are designed differently. the link has all the info i can't type it all in. there should be an equivalent if you google it.

Mar 18, 13 5:45 pm

i think your linked dropped a 7?

Mar 18, 13 5:50 pm
vado retro

by george. you are correct sir!

Mar 18, 13 5:56 pm

I have just googled it and I think I understand what do you mean, although I was not familiar with the English language terms:

masonry veneer wall is used either for aesthetical reasons or for heat loss reasons, or both. It does not "take" any load except for it's own weight.
Structural brick veneer is a wall that "takes" the load from the upper parts of the construction above it, and can be used with or without the masonry veneer wall.

But again those are all structural engineering facts.
Where does the architectural potential apply in here?

Mar 18, 13 6:01 pm
vado retro

This is from the link...

The SBV system allows the architect a variety of opportunities to create traditional walls or
dramatic brick forms. Sloping windowsills, brick soffits, lintels without exposed ledger angles and precast concrete bands and inserts are only a few examples of the design opportunities available.

My advice is to look at some recent brick buildings online find something similar to the description above. find out who did it and call/email them and ask them if they can tell you anything about it. you'd be surprised how happy they are to talk about themselves.

Mar 18, 13 6:10 pm
vado retro

Or you could perhaps create a thread which asks if anyone on archinect knows of any projects that employ this.

Mar 18, 13 6:12 pm

Thank you for the help Vado. And thank you curtkram for the link.


The .pdf does look interesting. But apart from that paragraph you quoted not much for an architect there, at least I think.

I am starting to doubt that this kind of thesis (I think one group got Wood instead of bricks, so the title was pretty much similar: "Potential of wood-based structural systems in urban building typologies") no matter what material is required are not suited for an architect, and definitively are something structural engineers should be dealing with.
Again, I am not saying that an architect does not need to know anything about structural engineering.

But what could an architect possibly write about, when the area is strictly related to engineering - construction loads, spans, details.

Is the only thing we(architects, architectural students) can do is to just name all these objects which were build in particular material?

Mar 18, 13 6:29 pm
vado retro

i can't handle all your objections dude. you wanted to know what it was so i gave you a link that took about thirty seconds to find on google. if you can't do some research and find some architecturally innovative projects that use this technology and then right about how that technology enabled the design decisions, well then, you're up the creek.

Mar 18, 13 8:55 pm

Thank you the help Vado.

Sorry for objections.

Mar 18, 13 8:58 pm

Good day to all of you! I'm having a thesis with the theme "Beyond Typologies: Introducing New Typologies to Current Building and Urban Environment". I am considering of pursuing a study on urban typology. But my knowledge on this topic is not sufficient. Where do you think I could find a material or anything I can study to understand this better?


May 30, 14 12:46 am

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