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What is Hostile Architecture?

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Hostile architecture is architecture that is not designed to be aesthetically pleasing or usable. It tends to occur when a designer has goals such as security and crime prevention that is used as an excuse to neglect functionality and general pleasantness.


Obvious examples of hostile architecture can often be found in street furniture that is designed to prevent sleeping and skateboarding. Such furniture may feature dividers that make them feel anti-social, blandly utilitarian and uncomfortable.


For some reason security requirements tend to invoke a failure of imagination whereby architecture ends up being stark and unfriendly. For example, street furniture that doubles as a vehicle barrier is often unattractive. In theory, it should be possible to create attractive architecture that is heavy and anchored to the ground as these aren't excessive constraints.

Fear of Skateboarders

Many cities have gone to great lengths to prevent skateboarding. This is usually done under the guise of "crime prevention." This may stem from a fear of youth as it is not efficient to make a city unattractive to prevent youth from enjoying a reasonably harmless hobby. A more positive approach is to build skateparks that draw skateboarders to areas where noise isn't a concern.

Academic Architecture

Architecture that is overly intellectual to the point of prioritizing abstract ideas over usability may be perceived as hostile. Hostile architecture is often based on cold logic that fails to account for human factors.
Overview: Hostile Architecture
Architecture that is not designed to be aesthetically pleasing or usable.
Related Concepts
High Modernism
Natural Surveillance
Architectural Philosophy


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