chapter  4
24 Pages

Townscape Perspectives

Townscape is a subject which focuses on the visual character and qualities of the built environment. It is not so much concerned with the way individual buildings look in terms of architectural style, materials or age but rather with the essential character and quality of groups of buildings and the spaces defined by these buildings. It is concerned with effects such as novelty, surprise, beauty and orderliness. The theme running through the concept of townscape therefore relates to the three-dimensional visual impact of the built urban environment. According to Gordon Cullen, townscape is an art. In his book The Concise Townscape he refers to the art of the relationship between buildings and their surroundings. The process of townscape appraisal is not only concerned with the static relationship between buildings and spaces but also with the dynamic aspect of people and traffic movements. These are important elements which give an idea of scale and assist in the evaluation of the character, quality and ethos of townscape. Spaces only become alive when all townscape elements intermingle and are fused together.