Ummm...Why Is Hostile Architecture A Thing?

If the classic “actions speak louder than words” motto could be embodied by a form of architecture, then hostile architecture would be it. 

It won’t yell at you, but its sharp, jagged features can certainly inflict physical pain.  

But why is this type of design so hostile in the first place and what are some common examples you may see daily without recognizing its purpose? 

Hostile Design with a Hateful Purpose 

Hostile architecture, also referred to as hostile design, is intentionally created to “discourage certain behaviors or groups of people from using public spaces.” A common example of this is homeless individuals and sleeping in public. A similar architectural style, and unfriendly design, can be found in public restrooms as a way of limiting drug use or prostitution. 

Hostile architecture in particular screams a message that is louder than a toddler throwing a tantrum. It says that some kinds of people are unwelcome in specific areas of public.  

Oftentimes, the aggressive features of this defensive design impact people who aren’t even the intended targets. This leads to fewer visitors and tourists in the affected areas and even legal liability for property owners. 

15 Features of Hostile Design  

After enough commutes to work, what was once unfamiliar architectural features may not catch your eye anymore. However, you should be aware of the following examples of hostile design from Interesting Engineering now that you know the purpose of them. 

  • Slanted Benches 
  • Armrests on Benches  
  • Rocky Pavements  
  • Spiked Windowsills 
  • Segmented Benches 
  • Street Spikes 
  • Awning Gaps 
  • Curved Benches 
  • Barred Corners  
  • Street Dividers 
  • Raised Grate Covers 
  • Tiered Seating 
  • Fenced Grates 
  • Retractable Spikes 
  • Boulders Under Bridges 

Do you live in an area with hostile architecture? If so, let us know by reaching out on one of our social media platforms.