The Principles of Composition (1)
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THE PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION (CONTRAST) A synthesis of all the principles is necessary in order to ensure a unified and satisfactory composition. It has been seen that the principles of composition may and should be applied to the development of the plan of a building, but they are best illustrated in the treatment of volumes. Visible architecture, or the masses and surfaces of which it is composed, lends itself to critical analysis. The following discussion is concerned with the application of the basic principles of composition to space enclosing elements. Contrast Not only is it possible for us to see a building through the element of contrast but also the building is given beauty and interest by the difference between types of treatment, which is introduced. It is essential that certain areas, directions and colors vary or differ from others so that by contrast the qualities of each are emphasized. It is through contrast that we secure proper scale, proportion and unity and consequently a satisfactory design.
Direction Type Contrast of Size Gradation Modular Contrast of Tone Texture Openings Contrast of Form If form is used to mean merely surface or to imply a 2dimensional area, there exists only the element of shape. In order for a shape to be interesting there must be variety or contrast. If form is more properly conceived in 3 dimensions, the architectural result is mass or volume. Contrast of Line: Lines may vary with reference to direction. It is possible to have a horizontal line opposing a vertical or diagonal lines may form a composition.
Contrast of Form Shape Mass Contrast of Line
A line may also offer contrast on account of its change in type or character.
It may be curved or straight, regular or irregular, broken or continuous. Contrast of Size: This type of contrast refers to objects, which may have the same shape and direction but may vary in size. If this change in size is gradual and uniform, the result is called gradation. Contrast of tone: tone may be done through contrast in texture, opening or planes. Combinations: Various types of contrast are combined like: contrast of mass- contrast of vertical and horizontal volumes contrast of shape contrast of tone Contrast is the opposite of similarity. If similarity exists to a marked degree, the effect is monotony. On the other hand if contrast exists violently and profusely the result will be a restless and disorganized design, which lacks repose. Following the rule on contrast, one has to observe that contrast be present in just the correct amount, enough to give
variety but not in excess, which will cause confusion. Contrast is the opposite of similarity. If similarity exists to a marked degree, the effect is monotony. On the other hand if contrast exists violently and profusely the result will be a restless and disorganized design, which lacks repose. Following the rule on contrast, one has to observe that contrast be present in just the correct amount, enough to give variety but not in excess, which will cause confusion. Contrast of Mass: Contrast of vertical and horizontal volumes giving a composition in abstract form which becomes capable of housing human interests through the introduction of windows, doors, and floor levels. Contrast of Direction: Horizontal and vertical details. Contrast of Treatment: Surface finish. The same material in different treatment, as in contrast of pattern, contrast of areas, or use of different materials. Contrast of Treatment: Surface finish. The same material in different treatment, as in contrast of pattern, contrast of areas, or use of different materials. REFERENCE:
Architecture Form, Space And Order by Francis D.K. Ching, John, Witley & Sons, 2007.
On an elevation: these same shapes will give emphasis to that particular portion in which they are incorporated.
Architectural Graphics Standards, CD Rom, 2004.
The circle and the square have been found to possess certain properties, which recommend them as a base upon which to begin the design.
Concept Sourcebook by Edward White. Architectural Design by E. Pickering THE PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION (PROPORTION) Proportion is largely a matter of relationships. It is evident by a comparison, which the eye makes between the size, shape and tone of the various objects or parts of a composition. There are certain geometrical shapes with good proportion such as the circle, triangle and square. The eye judges them quickly and classifies them with no difficulty. They are dominant shapes in a composition and for that reason should be used for accents. Types of Proportion: relative proportion – parts of the object as it is absolute proportion- parts of the object or the whole to the various parts Circles In plan: a circular or square units acts as a focal point on the center for radiating lines.
Squares to Rectangles Often, a rectangle is mistaken for a square if the rectangle approaches a square’s dimension. An observer will have a doubt to its real geometric shape. On the other hand, if it’s too long the observer would divide it into 2 equal spaces. Thus the rectangle to the diagonal of a square based upon the short sides – and this is called the Golden Mean. The Golden Mean Inclusive rectangle Exclusive rectangle
Basis of Proportion Traditional and Generally Accepted Mode Ken-Japanese Mat (3.15 X 6.30) Manufactured proportion Mode of construction
Government Ordinances for function (acoustics) Human proportions
The equilateral triangle, or one with equal sides and angles, has long been accepted as a form with good proportions. It tapers in a regular manner form the base to the apex, carrying the eye up to this focal point of the composition. Classical Proportion In this regard, whenever we talk of proportion we often refer to the Classical Orders. The Renaissance interpretation of Classical Architecture as developed by Vignola and Palladio, is based upon standardized proportions. The Greeks did not design in this manner, but it is possible for Renaissance architects, by studying a large number of Roman examples, to strike an average, which would represent the outstanding characteristics of these Classical elements.
Human proportions Le Modulor EXAMPLES OF PROPORTION Doors should be big enough to make one walk through in comfort but not so big as to require an almost impossible physical effort to close them. Steps should be of such a size as to permit easy ascent and descent. Ceiling heights must be properly proportioned to the size and the function of the room. Balustrade should be related to the human figure in such a way that safety is secured. REFERENCE: Architecture Form, Space And Order by Francis D.K. Ching, John, Witley & Sons, 2007. Architectural Graphics Standards, CD Rom, 2004. Concept Sourcebook by Edward White.
Architectural Design by E. Pickering THE PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION (SCALE & BALANCE) Scale has reference to proportions, which are good for humans. It is one set of the most subtle of the elements of design and one of the most difficult to obtain. Scale deals with the relation of architectural motifs, such as doors, windows or moldings, to each other and to the human figure. Architecture must be adapted to the human needs: design is a matter of the adjustment of architectural elements to meet the needs of the human race, and proper scale should be present when this adaptation is made. Kinds of scale: Generic – size of a building element relative to other forms in its context. Human- size of a building element or space relative to the dimensions and proportion of a human body. Types of scale: Intimate
Scalar sequence Simple progression Preparation-Surprise Constriction-relief Transition Balance is equality. It is composition. It is the foundation upon which arrangement, harmony and adjustment of weights, tones, values, etc. are developed. Proper balance satisfies the eye with reference to the relative importance of the various parts of the design. Types of Balance SYMMETRICAL - The easiest and simplest kind of balance is the purely symmetrical type in which the elements are arranged in precisely the same manner on either side of a central axis or line.
Normal Monumental Shocking Scalar sequence
Not only is the arrangement similar but each object is exactly like the one occupying the corresponding position on the opposite side. In this kind of balance eye catches a glance the equality of attraction on
each side of the center of the composition. All elements are duplicated – shape for shape, size for size and tone for tone. The left half of the composition is identical TYPES OF BALANCE
UNSYMMETRICAL– In an informal arrangement the longer and heavier masses should be nearer the center of the group, while the lighter, lower and more horizontal elements may constitute the long arm of the steelyard. UNSYMMETRICAL–
SYMMETRICAL For mal Balance – is a type of balance which approach absolute symmetry but which lacks some of the essentials of this kind of composition. Formal Balance
Vertical units may be introduced near the center of interest, or the fulcrum, in order to create the desired accents. REFERENCE:
Here the general mass and grouping of the parts may be similar, but there may exist a difference in their shapes and surface treatments. UNSYMMETRICAL (OCCULT BALANCE) – A more subtle and elusive and is more difficult to attain.
UNSYMMETRICAL (OCCULT BALANCE) – It attempts to satisfy the eye without any effort to place equal masses at similar distances from the center of the composition. UNSYMMETRICAL (OCCULT BALANCE) – It is the grouping, in an informal manner, of elements of varying sizes and shapes. UNSYMMETRICAL (OCCULT BALANCE) – One senses, rather than sees, a state of equilibrium.
Architecture Form, Space And Order by Francis D.K. Ching, John, Witley & Sons, 2007. Architectural Graphics Standards, CD Rom, 2004. Concept Sourcebook by Edward White. Architectural Design by E. Pickering THE PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION (RHYTHM, UNITY & CHARACTER) RHYTHM Movement Repetition Spacing RHYTHM Unaccented Accented
The different types of art with which we are familiar may be divided into two groups:
Movement is the basis of rhythm. If windows and doors are thrown into the façade of a building in a haphazard manner, there is no scheme or sense to the arrangement and again no rhythm.
according to the way in which the impressions are conveyed to our senses or
Movement of the eye across a painting from spot to spot of similar color-the rhythmic use of color
according to the manifestations of their qualities.
It may be the repetition of a similar type of line in a piece of sculpture – the rhythmic use of line.
Some may be permanent in their characteristics, as those executed in stone. Others may be transitory, as is sound.
It may be found in the continuity of a series of arches forming an arcade – the rhythm of direction.
Kinds of Arts STATIC ART (permanent): Architecture Sculpture Painting Literature EVANESCENT ARTS (transitory): Music Dramatics An Organized Movement Architecture is compared to music: Music is an art that is heard. It is a combination of sounds arranged in such a manner as to serve a utilitarian purpose and in addition, to have an emotional appeal. The music of the western world is based upon rhythm, melody and harmony. Rhythm is the foundation of music.
UNITY Unity is the culmination of all the previously mentioned elements of design. If structure has unity, it must have contrast, rhythm and scale. Unity suggests harmony. It means that all the unrelated parts of an architectural arrangement are brought into proper relation to each other so that a satisfactory composition is obtained. If unity prevails, all the unimportant parts must be kept in their places and be made simply to assist the major units in the roles which they are to play in the development of the structure. The unity of simple geometric forms is easy to understand. They are elementary in their shapes, and no proportion of the whole tends
to detach itself and to create new forms, or centers of interest. Elementary geometric (shapes) FORMS are compact and direct; they tell a single story in the briefest possible manner. The simplest kind of unity dealing with motifs of more than one member is to be found in ordinary repetition. If this unity would be more emphatic and interesting, an accent may be introduced into the composition, so that a dominant note is added to the regularity of the repetition. In other words, the highest type of unity is secured if there exists no doubt as to the presence of a central motif. In architectural composition the elements must be arranged in such a way as to ensure the domination of the less important parts by the major masses of the building. All the units should together form a compact and coherent ensemble. Competition is one of the worst foes of unity. In studying an architectural problem, the plan receives first consideration, and here it is too easily possible, but not desirable, to have the elements competing with each other for the place of importance. However, the elements of an elevation are more quickly seen and understood than those of the plan
Confusion exists because of the lack of similarity between the various elements employed to create a building. It is a case of unorganized competition and contrast. Dissimilarity is too pronounced. CHARACTER Character grows out of the function of the building and the consideration of all the creative principles of composition. It is something, which should be kept in mind during the entire process of design. Throughout the development of a project the designers must ever strive to express the purpose of the building, both in general composition and the use of details. Manifested character is the external expression of internal qualities. In any architecture, which is worthy of the name, the exterior of a building expresses the internal function. Classes of Character Character in architecture may be divided into three (3) types, depending upon the source of its inception and upon whether this source deals with the abstract or the concrete. The classes are CHARACTER from: Function – or use of the building. Association – or influence of traditional types
Personality – or the human quality or emotional appeal. FUNCTIONAL CHARACTER The most important kind of character in architecture is that, which results from the purpose of the building or the reason for its erection. The use of a structure naturally calls for a certain disposition of parts, and this arrangement affects the appearance of the exterior by which we largely judge character
associated with that particular structure. A spire atop a building with stained glass windows has always told us that it was a church Classic Orders often indicates the presence of a bank/government building. Collegiate Gothic frequently discloses the identity of an educational institution.
A museum must have galleries with ample wall space and top light, which eliminates windows and necessitates the use of skylights
The contemporary movement in architecture has, however, caused many revisions in our association of ideas.
A school building must contain many windows to admit the necessary side light and to offer an interesting contrast with the possible monotony of the class-room walls.
There are so many influences responsible for changing the character of our modern buildings.
A structure with large show windows is usually a shop for the display and sale of merchandise. A factory expresses the efficient operation of the manufacturing within A house reflects the informal intimacy of home life. ASSOCIATED CHARACTER This comes from the influence of ideas and impressions related to or growing out of the past experiences. We have come to recognize buildings by features, which had long been
Materials, our attitudes toward physical comfort made possible the disassociation from the past. PERSONAL CHARACTER Buildings have qualities which are directly related to their functions, but in addition, they may possess characteristics which have to do rather with the emotional reaction set up in the mind of the observer. Buildings may be stern and forbidding, light and playful or sedate and dignified with reference to the impressions,
which they are capable of giving. It is to these qualities of vitality, repose, grace, restraint, festivity, dignity, etc. that we give the name of personal character. If the building is designed in the proper spirit, this type of character will grow naturally from the structure itself. It is quite essential that this intangible quality agree with the function of the building. Nothing could be more disastrous than to have a power plant looks like an entertainment pavilion – a substitute of festivity for efficiency Reference: Architecture Form, Space And Order by Francis D.K. Ching, John, Witley & Sons, 2007. Architectural Graphics Standards, CD Rom, 2004. Concept Sourcebook by Edward White. Architectural Design by E. Pickering
From the power point presentation prepared by: ARCH. WILLA R. SOLOMON