The Principles of Architecture: Part 1/12 of the 12 P’s–– A Guideline of Design for Architects and Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect #ilmaBlog #Architecture

A 12 part series on the 12 P’s Doctrine: A Guideline of Design for Architects & Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect; developed by Frank Cunha III, AIA, NCARB, MBA.

PART ONE

First, we start with the solid foundation and the importance of “Principles” in the practice of Architecture.

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, commonly known as Vitruvius, was a Roman author, architect, civil engineer and military engineer during the 1st century BC, known for his multi-volume work entitled “De Architectura.” The principles described in his book were later adopted by the Romans.

The Principles of Architecture

For someone to begin to think like an Architect or become an Architect there must be some knowledge of the principles of Architecture.  The knowledge gained is not something that can be grasped in a course or in one year, but it is something that requires a life time.  That is why an Architecture office is called a practice because the architects are practicing a craft.  There is so much to learn about so many different things.  Alas, we must start someplace and start building a solid foundation of knowledge about the topic we love.  As we learn, make (small) mistakes and adjustments we are able to hone our craft and get better with time and experience.  Having a solid foundation of knowledge and precedents will help you become a better designer.

Vitruvius’ discussion of perfect proportion in architecture and the human body led to the famous Renaissance drawing by Leonardo da Vinci of Vitruvian Man.

It has been generally assumed that a complete theory of architecture is always concerned essentially in some way or another with these three interrelated terms, which, in Marcus Vitruvius Pollio’s Latin text (De Architectura (On Architecture), a handbook for Roman architects), are given as: 

  • Firmatis (Durability) – It should stand up robustly and remain in good condition.
  • Utilitas (Utility) – It should be useful and function well for the people using it.
  • Venustatis (Beauty) – It should delight people and raise their spirits.

Nevertheless, a number of influential theorists after 1750 sought to make modifications to this traditional triad.  Architects will always tend to argue, evolve, adapt and create more concepts and principles, however,  these fundamental themes are a great starting point to start to build knowledge.

Other concepts to consider as guiding principles of good architectural design:

  • BALANCE – Balance in design is similar to balance in physics. A large shape close to the center can be balanced by a small shape close to the edge. Balance provides stability and structure to a design. It’s the weight distributed in the design by the placement of your elements.
  • PROXIMITY – Proximity creates relationship between elements. It provides a focal point. Proximity doesn’t mean that elements have to be placed together, it means they should be visually connected in some way.
  • ALIGNMENT – Allows us to create order and organization. Aligning elements allows them to create a visual connection with each other.
  • REPETITION – Repetition strengthens a design by tying together individual elements. It helps to create association and consistency. Repetition can create rhythm (a feeling of organized movement).
  • CONTRAST – Contrast is the juxtaposition of opposing elements (opposite colors on the color wheel, or value light / dark, or direction – horizontal / vertical). Contrast allows us to emphasize or highlight key elements in your design.
  • SPACE – Space in art refers to the distance or area between, around, above, below, or within elements. Both positive and negative space are important factors to be considered in every design.

Subscribe to our blog for updates on each of the 12 doctrines.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook



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