In images that I've seen of the contemporary built environment in the United Kingdom, I'm struck by the uniformity of architectural style in detached and semi-detached houses. Unlike the United States and Canada, where a variety of architectural styles and themes can be found in new residential construction, even within a single region, it seems like in the UK there's little variance from design that resembles the following:
I haven't seen many examples of suburban commercial architecture, but what I've seen seems like what would be called "prototypes", "corporate architecture" and "formula architecture" in the US; a standardized design used by a business for every location, with only minor adjustments depending on site conditions.
A large and growing number of communities in the United States are adopting architectural design requiremetns to regulate the design of commercial and industrial strucutres, to ensure high quality design, preserve or create a unique sense of place, and prevent an "Anyplace, USA" effect. The following is a small excerpt from a unified land use code I write several years ago.
This is a two part question:407.5 Commercial, office, public, institutional, and mixed use architecture
Architecture and site planning dictated solely by corporate standards, cost efficiency and ease of vehicular movement will have a destructive effect on the Town’s character and sensitive visual environment, turning what was once a distinctive place into “Anytown USA.” Formula architecture, buildings that act as billboards; and “big boxes” with blank and windowless façades, flat roofs, lack of architectural detail, and miniscule entries are both boring and potential eyesores.
(Municipality's) commercial buildings should not be considered disposable money-makers, but rather built to age gracefully and maintain their functionality, with the intent of being a future landmark worthy of preservation efforts decades after construction. These standards are intended to ensure new development is compatible with the built environment, and respects and reinforces the Town’s values, unique character and “sense of place;” while creating a built environment attractive to prospective consumers, thus resulting in a healthy and desirable business climate.
Is architectural regulation one of the tools available to planners in the UK? Are councils empowered to adopt architectural detailed design regulations, or is the architectural design of proposed structures reviewed on a case-by-case basis?
Why is residential architectural design so uniform in the UK? Is residential architecture strictly regulated, or are developers just unadventurous? If I was proposing a development that included detached houses with ... oh, Colorado Neo-Craftsman design, such as what is pictured below, would I be told "No, it must be a brick or stucco house with a simple profile"?