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Site Selection of Multi-Storey Buildings

Site Selection of Multi-Storey Buildings

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Site Selection

The important factors to be remembered before selecting the site for tall buildings are:

  • Location- w.r.t existing structures, transport facilities, approach roads, linking roads, etc.
        - The development of buildings on a site that will lead to the formation of unpleasant, dense, and overpopulated areas without sufficient social relationships should be avoided.

  • Geography: Orientation with respect to the sun, seismic conditions of the area, density, population growth, land use pattern, etc.
  • Topography: Study of existing and surrounding site features, vegetation, surfaces, etc. and the effect on the microclimate, etc.
  • The effect on the local environment like overshadowing: The location (site) of the buildings should be selected and designed in such a manner that it creates no obstacles for the view of residents of the surrounding buildings. The sunshine should not be obstructed either.
  • Type of soil: Whether rocky, loose, hard, etc to adequately design the foundations. 
        - Check the bearing capacity of soil for the maximum load to be distributed by the structure.

  • Water table: The level of water below the surface needs to be accounted for before constructing a high rise as the foundation depths of high rise are deeper than horizontal structures.
  • Abutting roads: The road widths along which the site has to be selected should check for the vehicular accessibility and should not lead to traffic congestion and overcrowding.
  • Wind conditions: The intensity of wind flow, and  their nature (dry, Moisture laiden) 
  • Orientation: of sun and wind to check the impact of wind loads and other external influences on the tall structure.
  • Skyline: The existing skyline should not be hampered and the proposed structure should be in consonance with the existing skyline or
  • Disturbing elements: Tall buildings should not be located too close, or in an area consisting of ordinary buildings. This disrupts the hierarchical process of space privacy in quiet private places (House) and semi-private places.
  • Accessibility of relief and emergency services, e.g. fire fighting facilities to the building is another important factor, therefore:
  • The tall buildings should not be located in narrow and blind areas, mountain skirts, and high hills; the latter for creating sloping passages.
  • The tall building should have sufficient frontage in order to provide enough protection when fire accidents occur in nearby blocks.
  •  At emergency times, the passages and routes must be so designed that the relief services would have easy access to the building. The fire fighting services should be able to deploy at the least 8m far from the construction spaces.
  • Open Spaces: According to the density and the height of buildings, the area should be sufficient to allocate open spaces.
         - The open spaces are more vital for residential complexes since children and old people are a major part of inhabitants who need open spaces for recreation.
  • Sufficient co-ordination: Tall buildings should have sufficient coordination, not only with their own components but also with adjacent installations, e.g. roads, public parking, schools, shopping centers, libraries, parks, and green areas.
  • In the nutshell facilities given below should be readily available:
- Communication and transportation routes,
- Public facilities and infrastructure,
- Conservation of natural and environmental resources,
- Prediction of the population, 
- Beautification and development of desirable landscape, 
- Compatibility of adjacent buildings



    • High-rise should be directed to maximize walkability, support the transit system, and enhance the importance of the city’s key activity centers like Station Lands, hospital, university, or college, etc.
    • High-rise may be included in the redevelopment of a large site in the interior or exterior of a mature neighborhood, depending on the size of the neighborhood and its characteristics.
    • High-rise should be developed only if directed by an Area Redevelopment Plan or existing zoning.


    • The site should be large enough to provide for adequate building setbacks and a transition/decrease in height to the edges of the site, to achieve compatibility with existing small scale development in the surrounding area.
    • The site should be separated from existing small-scale residential development by a major roadway or other non- residential use
    • The site should have direct access to an arterial road.


    • High-rise buildings should be developed as slender, point - block towers with small floor plates (approx. 6,500 sq. ft.), to reduce shadow and wind impacts, and to protect views.
    • Where high-rise buildings are constructed on podiums, the podiums should be designed to provide a human - scale street wall. 
    • High-rise buildings should have well-defined entrances, and be designed to “address” the street.
    • High-rise buildings should be sited and designed to establish a focal point or landmark in the area.
    • The exterior of high–rise buildings should be finished with high-quality materials depending on their effect on the surroundings.
    • High-rise buildings should be located and designed to minimize adverse shade and wind conditions on surrounding open space. 
    • High-rise buildings should be located and designed to minimize loss of privacy for other residential development in the area.
    • High-rise should include small-scale commercial or community uses on the ground floor that meets the daily/weekly needs of local residents.


    • High-rise projects should include significant indoor amenity spaces and outdoor open spaces designed for the recreational and social use of residents and users.
    • High-rise projects should have a high quality of landscaping on the site, and along adjacent street boulevards or walkways. 
    • High-rise developments that are part of a large scale redevelopment project, should dedicate additional public park space


    • The majority of parking for the residents of high-rise projects should be provided underground or in above-ground structures (parking garages).
    • Surface parking for visitors should be developed at the side or rear of the building, and be well landscaped. 
    • Parking garages should be designed with residential, commercial, or community uses at a grade to provide for active frontages.


    • The urban space, the space for the social life of the people is influenced by the existence of tall buildings. 
    • Many experts emphasize on three main characteristics of the urban space, as follows:
            - The space being confined.
            - The aesthetic quality of the space.
            - Social functions and activities being executed in that space.


    • Space when used as a confined area should enjoy a quality that creates the most desirable visual effects for the users of the space.
    • The urban space in areas where the tall buildings are the most prevalent type, the spaces do not enjoy such human atmosphere and the narrow streets between these buildings destroy possible perspectives from inner spaces towards open spaces.
    • This obstruction in the sight creates more tightness in the space in case the building is taller. 
    • The undesirable circumstances will be intensified by the shadows being made, lack of sufficient lighting, and lack of sunlight.
    • For solving this problem, the following remedial measures are recommended:-
    • Making openings among buildings by establishing open or green spaces along the length of the tower blocks, in the streets,
    • Recession in some buildings by not making them too high
    • Change of height towards its appropriation and adjacency of tall and short buildings.


    • Tall buildings have a nice perspective from relatively long distances. 
    • However, from closer destinations, they are not much appreciated. 
    • In order to modify the aesthetic aspect of the urban space, ….when the tall buildings are the most prevalent types and to improve the physical and visual aspects of these spaces,
    - The dimensional proportions should somehow be near to the human measures.

    i.e. In other words, the heights of buildings in the main envelope should be reduced OR Space is at an urban scale to appreciate the entire building at one go.


    • Social functions and activities in tall building are not successful, due to confinement and  lack of sight 
    • Therefore by the recession of those buildings from the frontier envelope of urban space and the construction of short buildings instead, space would be more suitable and will enjoy the possibility of creating more and better visual perspectives.
    • As such, the tall buildings are located further away from the space surrounding so that their undesirable influences on the urban space will diminish.


    • The towering height of the building results in a clear widening of the site itself which would not gel in a setting where traditional housing would merge into the surrounding landscape. 
    • The effect of tall buildings from the distance is not only determined by their own position but by the background; buildings or hills, etc.  They should be well appreciated from a distance. 
    • As the high rise cannot hide behind the trees or other neighboring structures it tends to attract more attention and so should be aesthetically more satisfying. 
    • The tall buildings should merge with the surrounding environment yet be a contrast to stand apart and be high.

      • A supporter of tall buildings believes that one of the major advantages of these buildings is the provision of urban perspective and sight from inside higher stories of these buildings. 
      • But it should be remembered that the phenomenon of tall buildings has generally some undesirable impacts on the adjacent environment for example:
              - Obstruction of view, 
              - Shadowing,
              - Reducing the privacy of interior space by the adjacent buildings
              - Influencing the green areas. 

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