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26 Examples of Architecture

 , updated on February 02, 2023
Architecture is the planning, design and construction of buildings and other large structures. This includes elements of engineering and art. Architects also require an understanding of sustainability, culture, law, business, materials, physics and other sciences. The following are common examples of architecture.

Parti Pris

Parti pris is the organizing idea behind an architectural design.

Human Scale

Most architecture is built to human scale and considers human factors. For example, very large buildings are structured into floors that are essentially based on the height of humans and their perceptions of space.

Ornamentation

Ornamentation is the incorporation of decoration into a building that is nonfunctional and nonstructural.

Symmetry

Architecture is typically designed to be visually balanced. The direct way to achieve this is with symmetry whereby both sides of things are the same or very similar.

Asymmetry

Asymmetrical balance is when something looks balanced on its two sides with both sides being completely different. This is found in architecture as in art and design.

Unity

Unity is the sense that things fit together in harmony.

Variety

Unity doesn't require dull sameness but can be achieved with remarkable levels of variety.

Repetition

Repetition of form and elements in a pattern.

Rhythm

Patterns of repetition of architectural forms, elements, lines and ornaments are described as having a rhythm.

Active Design

Active design is the use of automation and systems within a building. This term is also used to describe buildings that encourage people to walk and otherwise move around under their own power.

Passive Design

Passive design denotes systems within a building that work without consuming energy. For example, windows and similar systems such as shoji that allow for passive lighting, daytime heating when closed and cooling when open.

Night Architecture

Night architecture is the design of a structure to look good at night.

Architectural Acoustics

Designing buildings to control and enhance sound.

Style

Architects influence each other and build upon each other's works such that styles emerge in a time and place. These are characteristic techniques and aesthetics that are often instantly identifiable. It is also common for architects to try to revive historical or distant styles -- these copies are always imperfect resulting in a new style.

Facade

A facade is the exterior front of a structure or any side of a building that is meant to be prominently viewed. These are often non-structural leading to the common myth that they serve no purpose. Facades often have functions such as acting as a fire barrier and increasing energy efficiency.

Massing

Massing is the general size and form of a building. Form is simply the three dimensional shape of a building. For example, a building can be designed to look heavy and solid or light and floaty.

Structure

The engineering that holds a structure up under a variety of stresses.

Hierarchy

Hierarchy is the articulation of importance or significance using levels of position. For example, a building that becomes more decorative as it rises.

Space

The volume and form of the space within a building. This includes functional spaces with some purpose and spaces designed for their aesthetics.

Minimalism

Minimalism has been the dominant style of architecture in the post-WWII period up to the present day. This is designed to support the needs of an industrial economy to scale practical and austere environments out to the masses. Minimalism of this type is characterized by undecorated environments made with practical materials such as concrete. Designs are boxy with white interiors. This type of architecture is designed to offend the least number of people as opposed to being a form of human expression and culture.

Form Follows Function

Form follows function is the principle that massing, structures and space be designed in a practical way to support the functionality of a design. This is associated with minimalism but is occasionally deployed in a charming way nonetheless.

Truth to Materials

Truth to materials is the principle that materials not pretend to be something they are not. This is used by minimalism to justify unadorned concrete and similarly harsh and cold materials. Where postmodern architecture adopts truth to materials it is more likely to chose materials with history attached to them such as red brick and comfortable materials such as wood.

Post-Modernism

Postmodernism in architecture is largely a rejection of the harshness of minimalism that tends to be austere, unimaginative, repetitive, industrial and cultureless. As such, postmodernism tends to be decorative, organic, complex, asymmetric, brave and to reflect the local culture and landscape. Postmodern buildings also tend to look futuristic.

Organic Architecture

Architecture that integrates into the surrounding nature or that mimics natural forms.

Gesamtkunstwerk

Gesamtkunstwerk is a total art work whereby many different types of art are integrated into a single work. This is associated with architecture that integrates crafts and fine art.

Genius Loci

Genius loci is the principle that architecture reflect the spirit of its time and place. As architecture tends to have a long lifespan, it often becomes an important artifact of a time and place.

Architecture

This is the complete list of articles we have written about architecture.
Acoustics
Active Design
Adaptive Reuse
Aesthetics
Arch. Elements
Arch. Technology
Architectural Styles
Architecture Techniques
Art Nouveau
Bauhaus
Bottle Wall
Building Automation
Butterfly Roof
Carbon Concrete
Conversation Pit
Daylighting
Deep Water Cooling
District Heating
Dominance
Energy Efficiency
Enfilade
Facade
Form
Form Over Function
Garden Kitchen
Genius Loci
Gesamtkunstwerk
Googie Architecture
Green Facades
Green Roof
Green Walls
Ha-ha
High Modernism
Houses
Human Factors
Human Scale
Japanese Arch.
Light Pollution
Lighting Design
Lightness
Massing
Material Diversity
Minimalism
Mixed Use
Modern
Modernism
Negative Space
Night Architecture
Organic Arch.
Ornamentation
Parlante
Parti Pris
Passive Design
Passive Light
Positive Space
Postmodern Arch.
Postmodernism
Quality Of Life
Renaissance
Skeuomorph
Smart Glass
Soft Engineering
Space
Streamline Moderne
Structure
Sunken Room
Sunlight Transport
Sustainable Design
Sustainable Lighting
Symmetry
Tall Wood
Transition Design
Unity
Urban Density
Urban Design
Variety
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A list of lighting design techniques and considerations.

Architectural Elements

A list of architectural elements.

Architectural Materials

An overview of architectural materials with examples.

Architectural Styles

A list of architectural styles.

Architecture Techniques

A list of architectural techniques.

Building Infrastructure

An overview of building infrastructure with examples.

Houses

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Japanese Architecture

A list of Japanese architecture styles, techniques and elements.

Lighting Design

A list of lighting design techniques and considerations.
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