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What is Massing?

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Massing is the three dimensional form of a building. This is often the starting point of architectural design as it is the big-picture view of the structure of a building. The following are common elements of massing.

Size & Scale

Massing includes the size of a building. As such, there are often constraints such as the dimensions of a site. Scale is also an important consideration. Generally speaking, buildings are constructed to human scale.

Interior Spaces

Massing dictates the shape and size of interior spaces.


Massing that is useful for the function of the building. For example, a stadium with a massing that can house a football field and seat 66,000 people with a good view of the field.


Massing largely dictates the character and overall expression of a building as viewed from the outside.


The character of a building relative to its surroundings. It is common to model a building within its real surroundings.


Massing is typically designed to have a balanced visual weight.


The impact of massing on the overall architecture and its feasibility given constraints such as budget and regulations.
Overview: Massing
The primary three dimensional form of a building excluding details such as ornaments.
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