Architectural Scale

by Gilbert

Empire state building from the ground

How do you design a building that reacts on multiple scales?

Like the articulated sculpture of David by Michaelangelo placed among a party of sculptures, a building that acts on the urban skyline with a recognisable form, that still cooperates with its neighbours to form a coherent emsemble. A building that has various scales – layered, detailed and coordinated where it is accessible to people, and simplified where people observe from afar. A building that doesn’t simply terminate like a straight shaft into the ground, but meets the ground level in a human-scaled street-scape, lively with pedestrians and activities rather than void and silent.

See how the Empire State building (picture) addresses both scales – a distinctive crown that integrates into the Manhattan skyline, yet on the ground level, one barely registers the height as it meets the street as a low-rise block.

Let’s look at how buildings can be tall and proud, yet friendly and approachable.