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Cadeho

What is "urban" and "suburban" architecture?

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The other week when rendering for West Broad Village, an attempt to urbanize and recreate Richmond in the new city-wannabe stipmall Mecca known as Short Pump were released, people were saying the designs were really suburban-looking while others said it was urban. Is there such a thing as "suburban" or "urban" architecture? Is suburban architecture basically new-looking while urban is older in appearance? Or is it about the design? Or maybe it's just an opinion and there's not much of a difference?

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Those renderings definitely say urban to me, medium density and upwards, a walkable environ, but hopefully the renderings aren't hiding 10 acres of apshalt with neat stripes on them that suround this Village. Just basing that on the renderings there, I'm lazy right now and didn't read the linked thread, is this in an already well developed area or greenfield?

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The land right now is the last farm in this stretch of strip. Across from it is a parade of big box stores and acres of asphalt. I didn't think of building up as being connected with urban. I was thinking more of styles used, but you have a point.

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The other week when rendering for West Broad Village, an attempt to urbanize and recreate Richmond in the new city-wannabe stipmall Mecca known as Short Pump were released, people were saying the designs were really suburban-looking while others said it was urban. Is there such a thing as "suburban" or "urban" architecture? Is suburban architecture basically new-looking while urban is older in appearance? Or is it about the design? Or maybe it's just an opinion and there's not much of a difference?

i'd say it's mainly opinion. generally when i think "suburban", i think low density, which really equates to shorter height (like maybe about 5-6 floors). i think that classic "suburban office park" look where you have a building, or maybe a few buildings, that all have that standard bland look surrounded by parking and grass.

but there are buildings that have that bland look in urban areas, so it's really not a look of an individual building, but more of a neighborhood or an area that makes something suburban or urban in my mind.

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I don't think there really is a real answer - as you can tell from the various replies. But consider that the initial push for suburbanism in the US during the late 1800's was naturalist oriented. Suburbanism at that time was an attempt to encourage people returning to a more natural atmosphere. That has been warped various ways into modern suburbanism, but essentially the design of a 'suburban' structure should be more organic & feature more natural light & access than a 'urban' building. But that is of course not always the case...

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To me the renderings say "Urban" not necessarilty because the buildings are very high, but because there is a connnectedness to them, a walkability, and they are not so spread out. Also the "plaza" formed by the 3 sides of residentail buildings makes a nice enclosed urban space. But of course you dispelled the myth of the renderings, Cadeho, when you indicated that this was a greenfield dev with parking lots on the fringes, kinda like Birkdale Village in CLT. :)

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Density and layout are my personal benchmarks to divide urban from suburban. Narrow Streets defining small blocks that contain close together and/ or connected buildings would promt me to say urban while wide mutilane streets defining big blocks containing short but sprawling buildings with seas of parking lots and / or housing subdivisions prompts me to say suburb. Of course no two MSA's are the same so there is room to fudge things around a bit.

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That says urban to me; it's more than 2 stories, looks relatively dense, and its vertical lines are emphasizezd somewhat. Look at the districts near downtown in Philly, Boston, NYC, Chicago, Baltimore, etc.

Suburban architecture (at least in my amateur observation) can be thought of more as low, long, and wide, with more green space or free space and less emphasis on vertical lines and spaces. A good example would be Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie school, meant to haqve those long horizontal lines to mimic the vast open spaces of the praieies for which the school was named.

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