The urban landscape is made up of a wide variety of buildings and the open spaces between, such as gardens, streets, squares and parks. To understand each individual building you need to be aware of the context or the relationships between your chosen site or building and its neighbours.
Looking carefully at – or ‘reading’ – and understanding your urban landscape or building will inform what you choose to record in photographs, sketches and measured-survey drawings. View your chosen site from as many angles as possible. You may also wish to visit your site on several occasions, at different times of the day and year.
This exercise is simply about looking and understanding. Research using archival and other sources will then help you to develop a greater understanding of your site and its development over time.
Before you visit your site or building, ensure that:
We recommend you start with a broad view and then move on to the details. If there is more than one building, gain an overall impression of the wider group before moving on to individual buildings or structures (see below). From your chosen observation points, consider the following questions.
Features of the land (topography) around your site or building
Buildings in an urban context
Buildings: exterior structure and forms
Buildings: exterior materials and details
If you have permission and it is safe to enter a building, start your examination of the building with the lowest floor and work upwards.
You and the site or building