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Blocks are composed of building forms. These forms are derived from rational, local, and regional typologies. A thorough understanding of applicable forms should be achieved prior to block and neighborhood design.


A thorough precedent study should take place to determine relevant types applicable to region, climate, and scale. Blocks are then composed of forms based on choice of scale and proportion, not use.

Incorporate massing study as design tool whenever possible.

Design rational, simple plans that function inside the chosen forms. They should be flexible and expandable as necessary.



The large tenement building is an appropriate form to include in dense, urban applications. It is suitable for increasing the number of units and offering an affordable product mix to an area. Because of their mass, tenements should be incorporated appropriately and sparingly. The building above illustrates how a beautifully detailed building can blend into a neighborhood mix seamlessly. The building at left has retail space on the ground floor.


The warehouse form is a good design tool when a larger building form, or increased density is required in a single block. This building form can provide affordable housing options and office space if needed. The form above illustrates how, although similar, each unit achieves a sense of dignity and beauty adding value to the overall building. Proper proportion and execution of details are crucial to the success of a building of this scale.


A compound is a collection of forms that create a more authentic sequence of spaces than one single large form may allow. It is an essential ingredient that should be incorporated into block design. The compound is very flexible. It can function in a variety of ways and meet a range of neighborhood and block-level needs.

Form Typologies Application
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