A building cannot be a human building unless it is a complex of still smaller buildings or smaller parts which manifest its own internal social facts.


Never build monolithic buildings. Whenever possible translate your building program into a building complex, whose parts manifest the actual social facts of the situation. At low densities, a building complex may take the form of a collection of small buildings connected by arcades, paths, bridges, shared gardens, and walls. At higher densities, a single building can be treated as a building complex, if its important parts are picked out and made identifiable while still part of one three-dimensional fabric. Even a small building, a house for example, can be conceived as a “building complex”—perhaps part of it is higher than the rest with wings and an adjoining cottage.

… this pattern, the first of the 130 patterns which deal specifically with buildings, is the bottleneck through which all languages pass from the social layouts of the earlier patterns to the smaller ones which define individual spaces.

At the highest densities, 3 or 4 stories, and along pedestrian streets, break the buildings into narrow, tall separate buildings, side by side, with common walls, each with its own internal or external stair. As far as possible insist that they be built piecemeal, one at a time, so that each one has time to be adapted to its neighbor. Keep the frontage as low as 25 or 30 feet. Long Thin House (109), Building Fronts (122); Main Entrance (110) and perhaps a part of an Arcades (119) which connects to next door buildings.

Arrange the buildings in the complex to form realms of movement - Circulation Realms (98); build one building from the collection as a main building - the natural center of the site Main Building (99); place individual buildings where the land is least beautiful, least healthy - Site Repair (104); and put them to the north of their respective open space to keep the gardens sunny - South Facing Outdoors (105); subdivide them further, into narrow wings, no more than 25 or 30 feet across Wings of Light (107). For details of construction, start with Structure Follows Social Spaces (205).