note: clustered squares

Alexander draws attention to the temptation to make squares too large, which make them look en feel deserted. Sitte also warns for large squares, although he presents bigger measurements then Alexander. Sitte recommends small clustered squares above one big square. There are two ways to cluster squares and they booth have their own effect on the experience of the space relating to the big square.

ClusteredSquaresAt one big square pedestrians have a good overview over the space. Cullens ‘here’ remains the same and there will be nothing left to be revealed. This makes it a dull square: something you definitely do not want at an urban square. When there are to few people at the square, it wil feel deserted and unpleasant. This is why booth Sitte and Alexander pose a maximum size for a square, and Alexander poses the square meters per person to a maximum.

With the same amount of space-units (in the example at the right side it’s made of 20 units), little squares can be clustered with overlay. Each different spot can have its own familiarity, but the spots merge into one another and experience as one space. Cullens ‘there’ reveals slowly in the sequence of the serial vision from out the ‘here’. At te moments there are less people, the clusters squares still feel pleasant and not deserted. Usually, the main building stands on the corner of the clustered squares.

Also, with the same amount of space-units, little squares can be clustered with hard breaks. Each square will become a separated room. These rooms are closed (in difference to enclosure, such as Cullen explains). Now, each single square can be overviewed in its own atmosphere and at the break a new scene suddenly reveals. There is less interaction between the clustered squares than at squares with overlay and they must be designed on its own.

In general I prefer small, clustered squares with overlay.




– Out off the theories and analyses from this site I formed some notes with my own perspective on urban squares to help making choices at designing them.



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