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Building and Landscape Types: Typology

This is a general and introductory guide to information sources on architectural and landscape architecture precedents, typologies, and building and landscape types, with a focus on the United States.


"The classification of objects, structures, or specimens by subdividing observed populations into a theoretical sequence or series of groups (types) and subgroups (subtypes) according to consideration of their qualitative, quantitative, morphological, formal, technological, and functional attributes. Once established, typological sequences are often used as a surrogate chronology or culture history." (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology. Oxford Univ.Pr., 2002. Oxford Reference Online UCB Only.)

Search Terms

Use these terms as subject words or keywords to find additional publications. Terms designated "LC" are official Library of Congress subject terms which can be used in searching OskiCat and Melvyl, the library catalogs, and may also be useful as subject or keywords in searching periodical indexes.

Architectural theory (LC) 
Architecture--Classification (LC) 
Architecture--Theory (LC) 
Building types 
Garden Structures (LC) 
Landscape--Classification (LC) 
Morphology (LC) 
[type of structure, e.g., Plazas] (LC) 
[type of building]--Typology

Overviews, General Works & Selected Examples (a brief selection)

  • The alphabetical city. Steven Holl. New York: [Pamphlet Architecture], 1980. Pamphlet architecture; 5. "Different building types which evolved on and defined grid patterns in cities…" and a "catalogue" of a variety of grid types.
  • "Architecture after the demise of building types," Masashi Sogabe, Japan Architect, n. 50:56-7, Sum. 2003. Using the office building as an example, argues that there is little purpose to distinguish buildings by function in today's world.
  • "Buildings and typologies", in Understanding Architecture. Marco Bussagli. [Armonk, NY]: M.E. Sharpe, 2004. v. 1: 40-75. Excellent examples of residential, religious, public, military, collective, industrial, service, commercial, and funerary building types with brief histories from ancient to contemporary.Table of contents 
  • "Getting to know the built landscape: Typomorphology," in Ordering space: Types in architecture and design, ed. Karen A. Franck and Linda Schneekloth. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1994.
  • "LandSCAPES, a typology of approaches to landscape architecture,  Katherine Crew and Ann Forsyth,Landscape Journal, v. 22 n.1:37-53, 2003. Typology of six approaches to landscape architecture.
  • "Linear landscapes: corridors, conduits, strips, edges, and segues." Ken Smith. Harvard design magazine, Win-Spr 1999:77-80. Typology of linear spaces in landscape architecture.
  • "On the typology of architecture," Giulio Carlo Argan, Architectural Design, v. 33, n. 12:564-65, Dec. 1963.
  • "On typology", Rafael Moneo, Oppositions n.13:23-45, Sum 1978. Discusses architectural type, typology and their use in contemporary architectural design and theory.
  • Ordering space: types in architecture and design, edited by Karen A. Franck, Lynda H. Schneekloth. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1994. Important collection of essays by respected scholars, e.g. Anthony King, Anne Vernez Moudon, on the use of type in research and theory, sociology and politics, and the design process. Includes architecture, urban design and the built landscape. Excellent bibliographies.
  • Phylogenesis: foa's ark. Foreign Office Architects. Barcelona: Actar, 2004. FOA's own taxonomy of their works. Moves away from "…the traditional functional classification of types … into a morphological one…"
  • "Typologies," by Paul Oliver, Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World. Paul Oliver, ed. Cambridge, U.K; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997, v. 1:609-10, 611-654. Extensive and scholarly articles on the typologies of vernacular architecture. Introduction by Oliver, with additional sections by other authors.
  • "Typology," by David Vanderburgh, in Encyclopedia of 20th-Century Architecture, vol. 3:1355-56. Excellent overview of subject, including history and theory; bibliography.
  • Typology, spatial evolution and functional transformations of mixed-use inner-urban neighborhoods: a search for the elements for adaptable urban communities. Takashi Ariga. Berkeley: University of California, Dept. of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, Thesis (Ph.D. in Environmental Planning), Dec. 1997.

History & Theory

  • "The architectural typology of Antoine Chrysostome Quatremere de Quincy," Jonathan Noble. EAR, 2000 Sept., v.27: 147-161, Sept. 2000. Includes bibliographical references.
  • Architecture of the city. Aldo Rossi. translation of L'architettura della citta by Diane Ghirardo and Joan Ockman. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1982. Oppositions books. A new urban theory, looking at the history and meaning of cities through building typology and urban morphology.
  • "After typology: the suffering of diagrams," William Braham. Architectural design, v. 70 n.3:9-11. June 2000. How typology has historically provided the dominant model for architectural working methods. Includes bibl.
  • Buildings & power: freedom and control in the origin of modern building types. Thomas A. Markus. London; New York: Routledge, 1993.
  • "Designing: rules, types and worlds," Donald A. Schon. Design Studies, v.9 no.3:181-90, July, 1988. Analysis of how designers use design rules and patterns, such as building types.
  • "Type, Antoine-Chrysotome Quatremere de Quincy, Encyclopedie Methodique. Paris, Panckoucke; Liege, Plomteux, 1788-1825. Reprinted (English) in Oppositions n.8:149, Spring 1977. Classic text and one of the earliest on building types and models.
  • "Types and conventions in time: toward a history for the duration and change of artifacts, Stanford Anderson,Perspecta n.18:109-17, 1982. bibl. p. 206.
  • Typological theory in the United States: the consumption of architectural "authenticity", Terrance Goode, Journal of architectural education, v. 46 n.1:2-13, Sept. 1992. Postmodernism and typology. Bibliographical references.
  • "Typology - an architecture of limits," Doug Kelbaugh, Architectural theory review: 1996 Nov., v.1, n.2, p.33-52, Nov. 1996. Includes bibliographical references.