Neo-Classical Architecture

Neoclassical architecture is an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century. In its purest form, it is a style principally derived from the architecture of classical antiquity, the Vitruvian principles, and the work of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio.

Neoclassical architecture emphasizes the wall rather than chiaroscuro and maintains separate identities to each of its parts. The style is manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formula as an outgrowth of some classicising features of Late Baroque. Neoclassical architecture is still designed today, but may be labelled New Classical Architecture for contemporary buildings.

Neoclassical, or “new” classical, architecture describes buildings that are inspired by the classical architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. If you look closely at a Neoclassical building you may see echoes of the Parthenon in Athens or the Pantheon in Rome.

Neoclassical buildings have many (although not necessarily all) of these features:

Characteristic of the neoclassical architecture

  1. Symmetrical shape
  2. Tall columns that rise the full height of the building
  3. Triangular pediment
  4. Domed roof

High neoclassicism was an international movement. Though neoclassical architecture employed the same classical vocabulary as Late Baroque architecture, it tended to emphasize its planar qualities, rather than sculptural volumes. Projections and recessions and their effects of light and shade were more flat; sculptural bas-reliefs were flatter and tended to be enframed in friezes, tablets or panels.

Neoclassical buildings can be divided into three main types. A temple style building features a design based on an ancient temple, while a Palladian building is based on Palladio’s style of villa construction. The third type is the classical block building, described later in this section.

Temple style buildings were uncommon during the Renaissance; architects of that period focused mainly on applying classical elements to churches and modern buildings (e.g. palazzos, villas). Temple style architecture exploded during the Neoclassical age. Many temple style buildings feature a peristyle (a continuous line of columns around a building), which is rarely found in Renaissance architecture.

The most famous temple style buildings of the Neoclassical age may be the Panthéon  and the British Museum (London, by Robert Smirke). The former is Roman-based (modelled after the Pantheon in Rome), while the latter is Greek-based.

Palladian architecture is derived from the villas of Andrea Palladio, the greatest architect of the Late Renaissance. Palladio, like famous artists generally, was followed by many successors who absorbed and worked in his style; these ranged from unoriginal imitators to artistic geniuses, the latter of whom applied old ideas in brilliant new ways. Interestingly, Palladio’s greatest successors emerged primarily in England.

Robert Adam is the most famous Neoclassical architect to work in the Palladian style, the most famous of all Palladian buildings are two American civic buildings, the White House and United States Capitol. Both were constructed over long periods under various architects.

Some of the buildings in the above gallery feature a balustrade (a railing with vertical supports) along the edge of the roof. (The vertical supports within a balustrade are known as “balusters” or “spindles”.) The balustrade is a common classical method of crowning a building that has a flat/low-lying roof.

A classical block building features a vast rectangular (or square) plan, with a flat (or low-lying) roof and an exterior rich in classical detail. The exterior is divided into multiple levels, each of which features a repeated classical pattern, often a series of arches and/or columns. The overall impression of such a building is an enormous, classically-decorated rectangular block.


The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building or Capitol Hill, is the seat of the United States Congress, the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It sits atop Capitol Hill, at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Contrary to a popular myth, D.C. building height laws have never referred to the height of the Capitol building, which rises to 289 feet (88 m).

The Capitol Grounds cover approximately 274 acres (1.11 km²), with the grounds proper consisting mostly of lawns, walkways, streets, drives, and planting areas. Several monumental sculptures used to be located on the east facade and lawn of the Capitol including The Rescue and George Washington. The current grounds were designed by noted American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who planned the expansion and landscaping performed from 1874 to 1892. In 1875, as one of his first recommendations

The Capitol’s building is marked by its central dome above a rotunda in the central section of the structure (which also includes, the older original smaller center flanked by the two original (designed 1793, occupied 1800) smaller two wings (inner north) and inner south) containing the two original smaller meeting chambers for the Senate and the House of Representatives (between 1800 and late 1850s) and then flanked by two further extended (newer) wings, one also for each chamber of the larger, more populous Congress: the new north wing is the Senate chamber and the new south wing is the House of Representatives chamber.

On the ground floor is an area known as the Crypt. It was intended to be the burial place of George Washington, with a ringed balustrade at the center of the Rotunda above looking down to his tomb.

The Hall of Columns is located on the House side of the Capitol, home to twenty-eight fluted columns and statues from the National Statuary Hall Collection. In the basement of the Capitol building in a utility room are two marble bathtubs, which are all that remain of the once elaborate Senate baths. These baths were a spa-like facility designed for members of Congress and their guests before many buildings in the city had modern plumbing. The facilities included several bathtubs, a barbershop, and a massage parlor.


Arts and Craft movement

The Arts and Crafts movement was an international movement in the decorative and fine arts that began in Britain and flourished in Europe and North America between 1880 and 1910.

It stood for traditional craftsmanship using simple forms, and often used medieval, romantic, or folk styles of decoration.

The Arts and Crafts style emerged from the attempt to reform design and decoration in mid 19th century Britain. It was a reaction against a decline in standards that the reformers associated with machinery and factory production, and was in part a response to items shown in the Great Exhibition of 1851 that were ornate, artificial and ignored the qualities of the materials used.


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William Morris, a major figure in 19th century design reform, whose ideas inspired the Arts and Crafts Movement, advocated production by traditional craft methods but was inconsistent in his view of what place machinery should play.


Many of the leading of the Arts and Crafts movement were trained as architects and it was on building that the movement had its most visible and lasting influence.

Red House, in Bexleyheath, London, designed for Morris in 1859 by architect Philip Webb, exemplifies the early Arts and Crafts style, with its well-proportioned solid forms, wide porches, steep roof, pointed window arches, brick fireplaces and wooden fittings. Webb rejected classical and other revivals of historical styles based on grand buildings, and based his design on British vernacular architecture, expressing the texture of ordinary materials, such as stone and tiles, with an asymmetrical and picturesque building composition.

The London suburb of Bedford Park, built mainly in the 1880s and 1890s, has about 360 Arts and Crafts style houses and was once famous for its Aesthetic residents. Several Almshouses were built in the Arts and Crafts style, for example, Whiteley Village, Surrey, built between 1914 and 1917.




Architecture was also to be reformed through traditional building crafts, the use of local materials, and be free of any imposed style. Function, need and simplicity (without spurious ornament) were to inform design, encapsulated in the work of Philip Webb, Richard Lethaby and Charles Voysey. Although Morris’s decorative work was rich, intricate and colourful, he preferred plain and unadorned buildings; his favourite was Great Coxwell Barn which he described as ‘beautiful as a cathedral’.


The ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement are aesthetically expressed, in the past and present, in beautifully handcrafted household objects, useful and uncluttered home decor, homes and landscapes built with local materials, and home environments blended with nature.


  1. Clarity of form and structure
  2. Variety of materials
  3. Asymmetry
  4. Traditional construction
  5. Craftsmanship
  6. simple, refined aesthetics (beauty)
  7. simple, functional design (utility)
  8. living simply
  9. social reform (individuals more rational; society more harmonious)
  10. the virtue of a well decorated middle class home
  11. handcrafted objects
  12. high quality craftsmanship
  13. the joy of working and crafting with one’s own hands
  14. creating objects well designed and affordable to all
  15. creating harmony with nature
  16. using and sustaining natural materials
  17. maintaining a sense of space and environment
  18. staying spiritually connected to home and nature
  19. creating space for inner peace away from jobs and factories


The Arts and Crafts Movement Cast of Characters


  • John Ruskin (1819-1900)
  • William Morris (1834-1896)
  • Walter Crane (1845-1915)
  • Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1854-1923)
  • Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942)
  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928)


  • Charles Comfort Tiffany (1829–1907)
  • Charles Limbert (1854-1923)
  • Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)
  • Gustav Stickley (1858-1942)
  • Charles Fletcher Lummis (1859-1928)
  • Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)
  • Dard Hunter (1883–1966)

The Arts and Crafts Movement revived traditional artistic craftsmanship with themes of simplicity, honesty, function, harmony, nature and social reform. The movement promoted moral and social health through quality of architecture and design executed by skilled creative workers, and was a revolt against the poor quality of industrialized mass production.

Many of the work went unsigned, as well. Though it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact style indicative of Arts and Crafts jewelry, there were common themes used by most, if not all, of the jewelers associated with the movement. Influenced by John Ruskin, a great deal of the jewelry was inspired by nature and organic forms. Leaves, flowers and birds were common motifs.

Unlike the diamond-
encrusted gold and pewter designs most popular in Victorian jewelry during the latter half of the nineteenth century, Arts and Crafts jewelers chose to use less precious metals like copper,
brass, aluminum, and silver that revealed the hammer marks of the jeweler. Gemstones were primarily used just as accents rather than focal points and stones were often chosen for their colors, not for their monetary value. The stones, translucent moonstones or opals.


Art Nouveau  is an international style of art, architecture and applied art, especially the decorative arts, that was most popular between 1890 and 1910.

The new art movement had its roots in Britain, in the floral designs of William Morris, and in the Arts and Crafts movement founded by the pupils of Morris. Early prototypes of the style include the Red House of Morris (1859), and the lavish Peacock Room by James Abbott McNeill Whistler. The new movement was also strongly influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite painters, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones, and especially by British graphic artists of the 1880s.

The first Art Nouveau houses, the Hôtel Tassel by Victor Horta and the Bloemenwerf house by  Henry Van de Velde, were built in Brussels in 1893-1895. Both Horta and Van de Velde designed not only the houses, but also all of the interior decoration, furniture, carpets, and architectural details.

Horta, an architect with classical training, designed the residence of a prominent Belgian chemist, Tassel, on a very narrow and deep site. The central element became the stairway, beneath a high skylight. The floors were supported by slender iron columns like the trunks of the trees. The mosaic floors and walls were decorated with delicate arabesques in floral and vegetal forms, which became the most popular signature of Art Nouveau.


Art Nouveau architecture was a reaction against the eclectic styles which dominated European architecture in the second half of the 19th century. It was expressed through decoration; the buildings were covered with ornament in curving forms, often based on flowers, plants or animals; on butterflies, peacocks, swans, irises, cyclamens, orchids and water lilies. Facades were asymmetrical, and often decorated with polychrome ceramic tiles. The decoration often suggested movement; there was no distinction between the structure and the ornament.

The style first appeared in Brussels the Hotel Tassel (1894) and Hotel Solvay (1900) of Victor Horta.  In all of these houses, the architects also designed the furniture and the interior decoration, down to the doorknobs and carpeting. In 1899, based on the fame of the Castel Beranger, Guimard received a commission to design the entrances of the stations of the new Paris Metro, which opened in 1900.


Furniture design in the Art Nouveau period was closely associated with the architecture of the buildings the architects often designed the furniture, carpets, light fixures, doorknobs, and other decorative details. The furniture was also often complex and expensive; a fine finish, usually polished or varnished, was regarded as essential, and continental designs were usually very complex, with curving shapes that were expensive to make.


The last part of the 19th century saw many technological innovation in the manufacture of ceramics, particularly the development of high temperature porcelain with crystallised and matte glazes, At the same time, several lost techniques, such as oxblood glaze, were rediscovered. Art Nouveau ceramics were also influenced by traditional and modern Japanese and Chinese ceramics, whose vegetal and floral motifs fitted well with the Art Nouveau style. In France, artists also rediscovered the traditional grés methods and reinvented them with new motifs. Ceramics also found an important new use in architecture; Art Nouveau architects including Jules Lavirotte and Hector Guimard began to decorate the facades of buildings with ceramic tiles, many of them made by firm of Alexandre Bigot, giving them a distinct Art Nouveau sculptural look. In the Art Nouveau ceramics quickly moved into the domain of sculpture and architecture


Textiles and wallpapers were an important vehicle of Art Nouveau from the beginning of the style, and an essential element of Art Nouveau interior design. In Britain, the textile designs oWilliam Morris had helped launch the Arts and Crafts Movement and then Art Nouveau.

Architectural character

Art Nouveau buildings have many of these features:

  • Asymmetrical shapes
  • Extensive use of arches and curved forms
  • Curved glass
  • Curving, plant-like embellishments
  • Mosaics
  • Stained glass
  • Japanese motifs

Examples of Art Nouveau:

Art Nouveau is seen more as a stylistic choice than binding philosophy of art, in that many Art Nouveau designs or pieces are representative or reminiscent of natural forms. As a result, curves and organic forms are often incorporated, or form the basis for work in this style.





The word art deco derives from the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs Industriels et Modernes, held in Paris. The show was organized by an association of French artists known as, La Societe des Artistes Decorateurs (society of decorator artists), led by its founders Hector Guimard (1867-1942), Eugene Grasset, Raoul Lachenal, Paul Follot, Maurice Dufrene, and Emile Decour, some of whom were previously involved in Art Nouveau.

The Art Deco style, adopted by architects and designers around the world, spanned the “Roaring Twenties“, the Great Depression of the early 1930s, and the years leading up to the Second World War. It suffered a decline in popularity during the late 30s and early 40s, when it began to be seen as too gaudy and ostentatious for wartime austerity, after which it quickly fell out of fashion. The first resurgence of interest in Art Deco occurred in the 1960s – coincident with the movement’s affect on Pop Art – and then again in the 1980s, in line with growing interest in graphic design. The style appeared in a number of jewellery and fashion ads.

Employing new building materials that were manipulated into stepped, radiating styles that contrasted sharply with the fluid motifs of Art Nouveau, Art Deco architecture represented scientific progress, and the consequent rise of commerce, technology, and speed. This, together with its image as a modern, opulent style, made Art Deco designs especially suitable for the interiors of cinemas, ocean liners such as the Queen Mary, and the architecture of train stations across the United States. It endured throughout the Depression due to the practicality and simplicity of its design, and its suggestion of better times ahead.

The structure of Art Deco is founded on mathematical geometric shapes which drew equally on Greco-Roman Classicism, the faceted architectural forms of Babylon, Assyria, Ancient Egypt, and Aztec Mexico – notably their ziggurats, pyramids and other monumental structures – and Machine Age streamline designs from aviation, the radio, and the skyscraper. In particular, Art Deco designs are characterized by trapezoidal, zigzagged, and triangular shapes, chevron patterns, stepped forms, sweeping curves and sunburst motifs – the latter being visible in a number of separate applications, including: shoes, car radiator grilles, the Radio City Music Hall auditorium, and the spire of the William van Alen Chrysler Building (1928-30) in New York.

New materials were also much in evidence, such as aluminum, stainless steel, plastics, lacquer and inlaid wood. And while continuing the use of high quality Art Nouveau materials, such as moulded glass, horn, and ivory, Art Deco also introduced exotic items like shark-skin, and zebra-skin.



In classic Art Deco, rectangular blocky forms were often arranged in geometric fashion, then broken up by curved ornamental elements. But always the aim was a monolithic appearance with applied decorative motifs.


Art Deco materials included stucco, concrete, smooth-faced stone, and Terracotta. Steel and aluminum were often used along with glass blocks and decorative opaque plate glass (vitrolite).


Art Deco designers adorned flat roofs with parapets, spires, or tower-like constructs to accentuate a corner or entrance. Decorative curiosities such as chimneys were added to further enhance the design.


Windows usually appear as punctured openings, either square or round. To maintain a streamlined appearance for the building, they were often arranged in continuous horizontal bands of glass. Wall openings are sometimes filled with decorative glass or with glass blocks, creating a contrast of solid and void forms while admitting daylight. Many large apartment buildings found aesthetic success with decorative embossed spandrel panels placed below windows. The Kennedy-Warren Apartments is an example.


Doorways are sometimes surrounded with elaborate pilasters and pediments, and door surrounds are often embellished with either reeding (a convex decoration) or fluting (a concave decoration). The quality and extent of the decorative motifs vary by project and designer.


Many cities with building projects completed during the period 1927-1935 used Art Deco design plans, of which the following is a short selection.

The city of Mumbai in India has the second largest number of Art Deco buildings in the world after Miami. One of the finest is the New India Assurance Building (completed 1936).

The art deco style, which above all reflected modern technology, was characterized by smooth lines, geometric shapes, streamlined forms and bright, sometimes garish colours. Initially a luxury style (a reaction against the austerity imposed by World War I) employing costly materials like silver, crystal, ivory, jade and lacquer, after the Depression it also used cheaper and mass-produced materials like chrome, plastics, and other industrial items catering to the growing middle class taste for a design style that was elegant, glamorous and functional.


Deutscher Werkbund

Image result for Deutscher WerkbundThe Deutscher Werkbund (German Association of Craftsmen) is a German association of artists, architects, designers, and industrialists, established in 1907. The Werkbund became an important element in the development of  modern architecture and industrial design, particularly in the later creation of the Bauhaus school of design. Its initial purpose was to establish a partnership of product manufacturers with design professionals to improve the competitiveness of German companies in global markets.


The Deutscher Werkbund emerged when the architect Joseph Maria Olbrich left Vienna for Darmstadt, Germany, in 1899, to form an artists’ colony at the invitation of Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse. The Werkbund was founded by Olbrich, Peter Behrens, Richard Riemerschmid,  Bruno Paul and others in 1907 in Munich at the instigation of Hermann Muthesius, existed through 1934, then re-established after World War II in 1950. Muthesius was the author of the exhaustive three-volume “The English House” of 1905, a survey of the practical lessons of the English Arts and Crafts movement. Muthesius was seen as something of a cultural ambassador, or industrial spy, between Germany and England.

The organization originally included twelve architects and twelve business firms. The architects include Peter Behrens, Theodor Fischer (who served as its first president), Josef Hoffmann, Bruno Paul, and Richard Riemerschmid. Other architects affiliated with the project include Heinrich Tessenow and the Belgian Henry van de Velde. The Werkbund commissioned van de Velde to design a theatre for its 1914 Cologne Exhibition in Cologne. The exhibition was closed and the buildings dismantled, ahead of schedule, because of the outbreak of World War  I. Eliel Saarinen was made corresponding member of the Deutscher Werkbund in 1914 and was invited to participate in the 1914 Cologne exhibition. Among the Werkbund’s more noted members was the architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, who served as Architectural Director.



  • 1907, Establishment of the Werkbund in Munich
  • 1910, Salon d’Automne, Paris
  • 1914, Cologne exhibition
  • 1920, Lilly Reich becomes the first female Director
  • 1924, Berlin exhibition
  • 1927, Stuttgart exhibition (including the Weissenhof Estate)
  • 1929, Breslau exhibition
  • 1938, Werkbund closed by the Nazis
  • 1949, Reestablishment


The Deutscher Werkbund expanded dramatically, from 491 members in 1908 to 1,972 in 1915 to almost 3,000 members in 1929, growing into a formidable coalition of artists, designers, architects, craftsmen, teachers, publicists and industrialists. Its members represented a wide variety of different types of art and commercial concerns, from craft workshops to industrial giants such as AEG, Krupp and Daimler. There were constant debates about whether design should be dictated by the needs of industry or individual artistic expression.

Throughout the 1920s the Werkbund moved further away from handicraft and Expressionism towards industry and functionalism. Members interests focused on the social aspects of architecture and urban planning. A number of new exhibitions were staged: the first, entitled “Form ohne Ornament” (Form without Ornaments) occurred in Berlin in 1924. This was followed in 1927, by a major Werkbund exhibition “Die Wohnung” (The Apartment) organized by Mies van der Rohe and held in Stuttgart to showcase the latest developments in domestic architecture and construction. A number of the participating architects – including Le Corbusier, Gropius and Mies van der Rohe – made a point of using as much standardization (in materials and design) as possible. This approach allowed urban planners to construct housing units on a large scale while minimizing their unit-costs. A similar show, “Wohnung und Werkraum” (Home and Workplace), was staged in Breslau, in 1929. After this, in 1930, came the project “Das vorbildliche Serienerzeugnis” (The Ideal Series Product) in Hanover.

The Deutscher Werkbund was also involved in the 1930 Paris Exposition of industrial design and building. This was organized by Walter Gropius, together with Marcel Breuer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Herbert Bayer. As in Stuttgart, the Werkbund’s display – “Gemeinschaftsraume im Wohnhaus” (Recreation Rooms in Apartment Buildings) – focused on the increased convenience and reduced costs to be gained from employing standardized materials and design. In 1931 the Werkbund show “Der billige Gebrauchsgegenstand” (The Inexpensive Object of Utility) was staged in Berlin, and a year later the exhibition “Wohnbedarf” (Living Neccessities) was held in Stuttgart.

Like the Bauhaus design school, the Deutscher Werkbund did not survive the coming of the Nazis. It was disbanded in 1933.  However, it was revived in 1949 after World War II. In 2008, a joint meeting to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Deutsche Werkbund was held in Berlin, under the joint auspices of the Bund Deutscher Grafik-Designer (Federation of German Graphic Designers, or BDG-Mitte), and the Verband Deutscher Industrie Designer (Association of German Industrial Designers, or VDID).



The Pyramids of Giza

curator hall

It is believed the pyramid was built as a tomb for Fourth Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu (often Hellenicised as “Cheops”) and was constructed over a 20-year period. Khufu’s vizier, Hemon, or Hemiunu, is believed by some to be the architect of the Great Pyramid. It is thought that, at construction, the Great Pyramid was originally 280 Egyptian cubits tall (146.5 metres (480.6 ft)), but with erosion  and absence of its pyramidion, its present height is 138.8 metres (455.4 ft). Each base side was 440 cubits, 230.4 metres (755.9 ft) long. The mass of the pyramid is estimated at 5.9 million tonnes.

The Great Pyramid consists of an estimated 2.3 million blocks which most believe to have been transported from nearby quarries. The Tura limestone used for the casing was quarried across the river. The largest granite stones in the pyramid, found in the “King’s” chamber, weigh 25 to 80 tonnes and were transported from Aswan, more than…

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A Guide to Site Planning

Site Planning

Site planning involves arranging structures on the land and shaping spaces between them. It is an art linked to architecture, and city planning. The site plan locates objects and activities in space and time. It may be concerned with a small cluster of houses, a single building and the surrounding space, or a small community built in a single operation.

Environmental Factors

Environmental study for architectural design involves collection of data, reconnaissance survey, creative ability and imagination, and the design of solutions to solve building problems.

When an architect is given a design assignment, there are many environmental factors that are to be considered. The site is the major factor that has to be considered. Site means the area or the land that is meant for the construction of the proposed project. Site Planning is the art and science of arranging the various portions of a particular piece of land according to their uses. The site planner decides on the uses of the site in detail by selecting and analyzing it for the various characteristics of soil, slope, vegetation, etc.

The landscape involves the design of outside space. This should be thought about carefully to make an architectural design complete. The climate at the location at the site is very important as it affects the building that is to be constructed. Services such as water supply, drainage, sanitation, electricity, fire protection, air-conditioning system, etc. also have to be considered in order to make an architectural design complete.

Identification of site and its preparation

Each site has a unique nature of its own. The purpose for which it is to be used should be clearly understood. Every site when disturbed takes time to experience the mutual adjustment of its elements. For example, the flow of water creates a drainage pattern. Many factors are involved in the analysis of the site. These include the factors above the ground, below the ground and on the ground, as discussed in the following.

Natural Factors

  • Geology
  • Topography-slope analysis
  • Hydrography-streams, lakes, swamps
  • Soil – classification of types and uses
  • Vegetation
  • Wildlife
  • Climate factors – solar orientation, summer, winter winds, humidity, precipitation


The type of rock below the surface of soil, the depth, and the characteristic features of rock should be identified. Such rocks could act as a foundation for many buildings. These are natural and could form visible landforms. The stability of such geological formations is also important.


The form of land is called its topography. This is the most important factor to be analysed. Geology and the slow process of natural erosion (soil being worn away because of wind or water) are responsible for landforms and slopes. A topographic survey will reveal the badly drained areas and natural drainage channels. It will be also reveal places that have good views and parts of the site that are visible or hidden from any selected point outside the site. The slopes will decide the roads and paths; a steep slope will increase building costs.


Hydrography provides information about all types of water bodies present in and around the site: lakes, streams, any marshy land(swamps), or natural wells. It also reveals the availability or otherwise of a groundwater table and the depth at which it is available.


The different types of soil present are analysed. Soil decides the stability of land, foundation, suitability, excavation, erosion, drainage, and plant growth(as the top soil is essential for good plant growth). The bearing capacity of soil is an important factor to be considered while locating buildings.


A study of vegetation helps in locating large existing trees, which can be retained. These can be used for providing seating. The ecology of the area should also be examined to know what plants or shrubs would grow in that area.


This is an important consideration when choosing sites for parks and recreation. Fishing and hunting are major recreational activities. The selection of land suitable for such activities depends on natural wildlife present in the area. Wildlife also adds form, colour and movement to the landscape.

One might also want to be informed about the wildlife present in the area to preserve it and not disturb the animals natural habitats due to the construction.

Climatic Factors

Across a piece of land, the elevation difference, character of topography, vegetation cover, and water bodies influence the climate of that area. On the other hand, precipitation and temperature are the major factors affecting vegetation. In cool and temperate climates, vegetation may be used to block winter winds.

Cultural Factors

  • Existing land use – ownership of adjacent property and off-site nuisance
  • Linkages
  • Traffic and transit-vehicular and pedestrian circulation on or adjacent to site.
  • Density and floor area ratio
  • Utilities – sanitation , water, gas, electricity, stormwater drainage.
  • Existing buildings
  • Historic factors – historic buildings and landmarks.

Existing land use

This implies a survey of the present status of the land-whether it is residential, commercial, industrial or recreational. The ownership of the adjacent site will also affect the land being surveyed.

Offsite nuisances: Disturbances from outside and around the site have to be studied.

Visual nuisance elements: Power lines, water tower, certain industrial complexes, highways, advertisement boards, junkyards(waste dumps), etc., are some examples of eye-sore elements that have to be taken into account.

Possible auditory nuisance: Noise produced by heavy automobiles, trains, air traffic etc. and the surrounding population has to be studied.

Olfactory nuisance: Dumps, chemicals, other wastes in and around the site have to be taken care of.

Safety Hazards: Severe or sudden changes in landform, such as a steep cliff at the edge of the site have to be noted.



source: Architecture-Student