I think corners are important, especially in architecture.
Today's post is about the importance of corner buildings in a city.
Why are corner buildings so important in a city?
- Corner buildings are placed in an important location, the intersection of two streets.
- These intersections are the places where people are most likely to congregate.
- Corner buildings are highly visible. A typical urban building will have one major facade facing the street with the other 3 sides tucked into the block. A corner building has 2 main facades facing the street. More visibility = more importance.
- The corner building is more likely to say "look at me!"
Are you convinced yet?
Occasionally I get the opportunity to work on a corner site. One of the first things I will do is look for good examples of corner buildings. Architects call that precedent research. I enjoy studying the various ways a building can address the corner. Some buildings will articulate the corner with some sort of hierarchal statement, while other buildings simply turn the corner without articulation.
Here are a few example of corner buildings in Charleston:
The Heroic Corner
The Chamfered Corner
The Rounded Corner
The Sharp Corner
The Open Corner
The 'It's Just a Corner' Corner
The Spectator Hotel Corner
The Spectator Hotel sits on a corner.......so based on my introduction above I guess the Spectator is a pretty important building?
One of our design principles for The Spectator was to draw inspiration from the residential architecture of Charleston. And the most prominent residential building type in Charleston is the Charleston Single House, which is pictured above as the open corner. The Charleston Single is a house that is typically one room wide and features a side porch, referred to as a Piazza.
Occasionally you will find a single house on a corner, which results in an open corner.
This is the corner we chose for The Spectator. The open corner provides relief and is a nice juxtaposition to the heavy mass of the buildings masonry skin. And from certain angles, the open balcony frames the steeple of St. Philip's Church beyond.
Here is an evolution of The Spectator Corner:
Which is your favorite corner?
Steve Ramos, AIA, LEED AP