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building typE


The type of activities, and number of people a building was originally 

designed to hold, as well as the period in which it was built, will affect its size, shape, construction and layout. For example, a hospital built in the 18th century will have very different characteristics to one built in the 21st century, or to a house or theatre constructed at the same time. 

Characteristics such as age, original use and form allow us to group buildings into specific types or 'typologies'. Some typologies, such as the Victorian terraced house, are relatively easy to adapt, and extend. Others such as 19th warehouses, with their large windows and open interior spaces, are today commonly converted into offices or flats. Where typologies are inflexible, and hard to alter and extend over time, and where their characteristics are no longer seen as useful or desirable, they are likely to become obsolete and to be demolished. Identifying and retaining adaptable building typologies, and creating new buildings that can can both adjust and extend is important in making London more sustainable. 

Any information you can upload to the Building Type section will help us to spatially locate, and map, all the different building typologies in London. This has many advantages. For example, it helps us identify the spatial distribution of vulnerable typologies; count and geolocate buildings requiring particular approaches to retrofit; pinpoint resilient typologies, and monitor the depletion of finite stock reserves. 

When combined with footprint, size, height and building age data, typology information also enables a building's 3D geometric form be estimated. This is increasingly important for energy and urban heat analysis, and for the future development of 3D rule-based models, required to simulate future 

planning and energy scenarios for London.


Just as in our 'Land Use' category, you can choose straight from our dropdown menus. However this is a little harder as you need to know something of the building's history. For example, if the building is used as flats today, but was originally built as a factory, you'd put 'Factory' for Building Type,  and 'Converted Flats' for under building Use.

Often Building Type can be identified just by looking at the building's front, or an image of it. In some case however you might need to look at a building's outline on an old map to see if its use is labelled. Open historical maps for London can be accessed at the following sites:

Occasionally you might need additional historical sources. If so try our 'Age' category page'.

Colouring London is an open data platform and we can only accept data from unrestricted sources. Just use first-hand knowledge of the building wherever possible, or check your source is open and free for third party use.

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