Architectural Site in Works of Beauregard, Lynch, and Hack


The idea of building a house or public space may seem simple on the surface, but is complicated when being fulfilled. One of the main factors to consider and analyze is the location of the future project. Site is an important concept for designers and architects who plan a new building project that may be either practical or cultural, depending on the specialists’ accepted view.

One may search for either an intuitive way to explain a specific term or use an exact definition. Robert Beauregard (39) utilizes the former method when describing the site in a rather poetic manner. Architectural planning requires erasing all the historical attachments to form an empty ground with the potential to hold new functional structures on it; this neutral space the author calls site (Beauregard 40). Later, it would acquire the new history and emotions, becoming a place (Beauregard 42). Some researchers prefer a clear and practical idea about the site. Lynch and Hack (32) consider it a state of a specific territory at a particular point of time and emphasize the necessity of the detailed analysis before starting any construction planning. Their definition is more physical than philosophical; architects can follow the topography, biosphere, and landscape descriptions for a future project (Lynch and Hack 44). The purpose of the construction in the chosen location may affect the changes architects plan for the site.


The first text, “From Place to Site: Negotiating Narrative Complexity,” describes the transition from a territory with a particular history to the ground ready for a new construction project. Beauregard (39), the author, mentions that places always have feelings, stereotypes, and memories attached to them. Architects and designers turn them into sites by removing or adjusting the possible maximum of their individual features (Beauregard 41). The author uses examples of the Operation Breakthrough industrialized housing project in the US in early 1970s to explain the transition between the place and site (Beauregard 42). The buildings did not have any personal character and beauty; they represented basic functionality. Beauregard then describes the design of Brazilia, the capital of Brazil, as a new home and a capital with a nearly empty past and inevitably complex future with urban culture.

Numerous factors affect the qualities of a particular territory, from the location and climate to changes over time. Lynch and Hack (29), in their text “The Site,” state that the purpose of future construction affects the site analysis. They mention the factors that define the territory’s qualities, including those above, on, and below the ground (Lynch and Hack 29). The authors also admit human dominance when preparing the sites for the future construction and people “living in organized complexities” (Lynch and Hack 34). The numerous factors that influence a site’s qualities require detailed analysis for any architectural and designer decisions.

Similarities and Differences

Both texts admit the importance of finding or creating the correct site for future construction. Beauregard (41) states that it is technological, professional, and directly connected to the area’s economic value. Lynch and Hack (29) admit that the site’s potential function depends directly on its limitations. Both texts also imply that people influence their inhabited territory much. Beauregard (50) states that humans inevitably add value and meaning to their populated region. Lynch and Hack (34) also admit that people shape their environment and communities. The difference includes the meaning of the site and its perception as a concept. Beauregard (40) distinguishes between the site and place, the former being a neutral space without emotional attachment and the latter a territory with history and people’s expectations. Lynch and Hack (29) see the site as having “a distinct character worthy of our interest, concern, and affection.” Considering it empty and neutral is another point of Beauregard (41). Unlike him, the other two authors claim that an absolutely meaningless and unfilled site does not exist (30). Accepting or rejecting any mentioned views is an individual decision for each architect or designer.

Relationship Between Site Analysis and the Design/Development Process

An architect might have ambitious ideas and innovative solutions in their potential work, but the project’s feasibility would depend on numerous factors. They include the landscape, whether or not people live there, the current state of local infrastructure, flora, and fauna, as described by Lynch and Hack (36-60). The history and people’s attitude toward the future construction territory also needs to be considered, as written by Beauregard (40). Thus, detailed site analysis is necessary to define the possibility, feasibility, and potential challenges of the design and development process.

Theory of Site’s Influence on the Research

The theory of site could define the necessity of focusing on either historical, functional, or natural values of the analyzed territory. All three mentioned factors affect the potential success of an architectural project and are connected. Their coexistence does not contradict any of the theories of site. However, the importance and priority of each factor should be defined by the project leader according to their theoretical views and experience.

Insights from the Text

My site analysis conduction is likely to be affected by the work of Lynch and Hack. The authors provide a detailed list of many factors that could be used when researching the project territory (Lynch and Hack 36-60). After that, I would start a complicated procedure of capturing all the available data and planned site design on paper using professional instruments (“A Complete Beginner’s Guide” 00:01:25-00:02:02). The process is somewhat tedious, but every detail may be crucial for an architectural project’s appearance and functionality.


The site analysis is an essential step for every architect and land designer before fulfilling the project. It could be done to incorporate the existing natural and historical factors into the work or to neutralize any pre-existing values attached to the territory. Either way, the site evaluation plays a crucial role in the proposed project’s potential success or failure. It should be performed before any detailed budget planning and construction begins.


“A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Architecture Site Analysis.” YouTube, uploaded by The Architectural Insider, 2019. Web.

Beauregard, Robert A. “From Place to Site: Negotiating Narrative Complexity.” Site Matters: Design Concepts, Histories, and Strategies, edited by Carol Burns, Andrea Kahn, Routledge, 2005, pp. 39-58.

Lynch, Kevin, and Gary Hack. “The Site.” Site Planning, MIT Press, 1984, pp. 29-66.

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