If you apply different counting standards, each of these buildings is four stories! From the left, the first building has three main stories plus one in the attic. The next four buildings have four main stories, as long as you count the first story inside the roof (which in all cases is nearly a full floor). You have to discard the garret in each case. Building number six might be four, five, or six stories, depending on what you count, but four is still a reasonable number. Number seven is four stories only if you count what appears to be a fairly small floor in the roof. Numbers eight and nine can be counted the same way, although it is possible that both buildings actually have a very small fifth floor right up in the eaves. The last, taller building is difficult to see, but probably can be counted as four stories by one measure or another.
Having dealt with the slightly obsessive business of counting the floors, how do these "four-story" buildings work, individually and together? I think very well. With the exception of the first building, they share a common style and similar scale, yet each building is unique and has its own character. (Buildings eight and nine might actually be twins, but enough time has passed that they no longer look quite the same. Twin buildings are, in any case, fine, as long as they remain an exception, not the rule.)
Notice the arcade that runs underneath all the buildings. This is a fine example of an arcade, and is subtly improved by the use of round, not square columns. While nearly as strong as a square column, a round one allows considerably more light to penetrate into the arcade. It is important, when building an arcade, to avoid an excessive contrast in the light level between the outside and the arcaded area. There needs to be enough light that people outside can see into the arcade. People in the arcade should not be blinded when they look out. The arcades need to be kept fairly shallow and the arches quite tall. The inside of the arcade should be a light color, to maximize the brightness.
City Design Home