There’s a common misconception that the art of architecture is purely visual. To truly appreciate a structure, it helps to also understand the scientific and even the philosophic tones that are expressed within a piece of work. To that end, it helps to know a handful of fundamental vocabulary terms that architects employ to describe their work. We have provided a handful of terms below to get the “parti” started. Study hard, there’s a test afterwards!
20 Architecture Terms You Need To Know
Juxtaposition – the act of placing to things side by side oftentimes for the purpose of comparison or contrast
Symmetry – correct or pleasing proportion of parts of a thing
Parti – the “big idea” or the primary thought or decision behind an architect’s design
Form – the shape and structure of a thing that distinguishes it from its material
Articulation – a state of being jointed where the united parts stand distinct and precise in relation to each other
Balance – the harmonious arrangement of the parts in a composition or design
Composition – the act of combining parts or elements to create a whole or a pleasing and unified form
Modular – a design approach that allows parts to be created independently and combined to create either a singular form or can be used in different models
Façade – the face of a building or structure that looks out into an open space
Vernacular – A form of construction concerned with domestic function rather than monumental buildings
Fenestration – the arrangement of openings within a building
Rectilinear – a form consisting of moving in a straight line or lines
Aesthetic – The philosophy behind a pleasing appearance or form
Holistic – An all-inclusive design perspective. All parts contribute to a unified whole.
Motifs – a repeated figure or theme throughout the design of a form
Dissonance – a tension or clash resulting from the combination of two contrasting or disharmonious elements.
Contemporary – Modern: a form or design that is consistent with the present
Eclectic – a style that draws and expresses interest from a diverse array of sources
Organic – A design approach which promotes harmony between a habitation and the natural world in a single, interrelated composition
Diagram – a drawing or an outline of the form that explains the relationship of the parts to the whole
Ok, so we were kidding about the test, but these terms will come in handy whether you’re looking to start up a conversation with an architect, a realtor or even that really bored-looking bank teller that thinks he’s being subtle while checking his watch every 20 seconds. You might be surprised who you’ll impress!
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