Connecticut Urban Architectural Designers | Urban Architectural Design Specialists

Urban Architectural Design is the process of designing and shaping cities, towns and villages. In contrast to architecture, which focuses on the design of individual buildings, urban design deals with the larger scale of groups of buildings, streets and public spaces, whole neighborhoods and districts, and entire cities, with the goal of making urban areas functional, attractive, and sustainable.

The work of Smith Edwards McCoy Architects is decidedly urban in character. Our geographical focus has been Connecticut’s cities and towns, and most particularly Hartford. We are drawn to projects that serve an identifiable community such as a school, college or university, or a particular neighborhood. Through sensitive design we strengthen the physical characteristics that support a sense of community. We embrace the idea expressed by the Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck when he said: “A city is a huge house, and a house is a tiny city.” In our Urban Architectural Design work – be it a streetscape, an intersection, a courtyard, campus, or park – we endeavor to create places that support positive human interaction, be it planned or serendipitous.

We are familiar with “New Urbanist” thinking, and endorse its core concepts such as “pedestrian friendly”,” walkable communities”, “complete streets” and “road diets”. Since the focus of our work is cities and towns, we have re-introduced these Urban Architectural Design concepts – which had been eroded in the past era of Urban Renewal and car dependence – into the urban context. In so doing we believe we are fostering more authentic and richer community environments.

Our Urban Architectural Designers approach is evident in our first commission in 1977. As architects for the renovation of some 35 historically significant houses and modestly scaled apartment buildings on Congress Street in Hartford, we were charged with the redesign of the streetscape. We reduced the street width, created pull-offs, introduced a vest pocket park with a cobbled crosswalk to slow car traffic. With tree plantings and fencing we strengthened the character of this street making it more cohesive and pedestrian friendly.

For Pratt Street, formerly Hartford’s most active retail street, we created a street that “feels” pedestrian dominant with its brick pavers and crosswalks. Though long time in coming, this street is starting to display the retail vigor it once had.

The concept suggested in the opening paragraph to create an “outdoor living room” is fully evident in the Long Walk at Trinity College. We replaced a narrow, 800 foot long, concrete sidewalk with a paved walkway that generously widens at the center. With benches, bike racks and shade trees opening to a large lawn, this circulation artery is now a center of campus activity.