Focus on lived spaces and Identity: the Paradigm of the urban design with residential high-rises in England




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Peer reviewed



Residential high‐rises find more and more often their place in central parts of the big British cities. Due to intrinsic characteristics of the typology, they are bound to be observed, evaluated and discussed. Therefor the purpose of this research is through observation of nine prominent high‐rise buildings in Manchester, Birmingham and London, subjected to rigorous analysis, to evaluate their ability to maintain identity and to be decisive part of the lived spaces around them. The research achieves this goal through four research questions: how is the design addressing the creation of strong identity of the researched buildings; are the identity‐creating features of the design contradicting major placemaking principles; what characteristics have the lived spaces around the residential high‐rises; what messages send the design of the lived spaces? The methodology relies on observational survey of the researched areas with the help of structured questions, to evaluate the external qualities of the residential high‐rises and their surroundings. Visual information can construct the basis to identify the shortcomings and the downsides of the examined project examples. It can provide insight on how can be improved imageability, legibility and the sense of place. In this connection, the results show that even though it was found that the high‐rises with their abstract form, memorable design and creative use of materials and architectural techniques maintain strong identity, the functional quality of the lived spaces around them is low, there are missing squares, gardens and playgrounds in close proximity and the only experience provided for the users is street life, which however exciting is too limited to only few activities such as eating, drinking, shopping or just walking and looking at limited typology of spaces. The implications of this research are that the British planners will address these problems and future projects will have better placemaking component.



British architecture, identity, high‐rise, placemaking


Kalcheva, E., Hadi, Y. and Taki, A.H. (2016) Focus on lived spaces and Identity: the Paradigm of the urban design with residential high-rises in England. ARCHDESIGN '16, 3rd International Architectural Design conference on design and nature, June17-18, 2016, Istanbul, Turkey, pp. 106-111


Research Institute

Institute of Architecture