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Form: Architecture terms you should know

Everything is peaches and cream when you are doing your diagrams, sketches, floor plans until you notice that you don’t really know the exact meaning of the things you are using in your projects. 

We have an overview of those architecture terms that you should know about. This information was taken from the book Architecture: Form, Space, and Order By: Francis D.K Ching.

“Architectural form is the point of contact between mass and space … Architectural forms, textures, materials, modulation of light and shade, color, all combine to inject a quality or spirit that articulates space. The quality of the architecture will be determined by the skill of the designer in using and relating these elements, both in the interior spaces and in the spaces around buildings”. -Edmund N. Bacon.The Design of Cities

Form
© 2021 Jesús Perea
© 2021 Jesús Perea

In art and design, we often use the term to denote the formal structure of a work- the manner of arranging and coordinating the elements and parts of a composition so as to produce a coherent image.

Shape
© 2021 Jesús Perea
© 2021 Jesús Perea

The characteristic outline or surface configuration of a particular form. Shape is the principal aspect by which we identify and categorize forms.

Properties of form:
  • Size
  • Color
  • Texture
© 2021 Jesús Perea
© 2021 Jesús Perea
© 2021 Jesús Perea
© 2021 Jesús Perea
© 2021 Jesús Perea
© 2021 Jesús Perea
  • Size: The physical dimensions of length, width and depth of a form. While these dimensions determine the proportions of a form, its scale is determined by its size relative to other forms in its context.
  • Color: A phenomenon of light and visual perception that may be described in terms of an individual’s perception of hue, saturation, and tonal value. Color is the attribute that most clearly distinguishes a form from its environment. It also affects the visual weight of a form.
  • Texture: The visual and especially tactile quality given to a surface by the size, shape, arrangement, and proportions of the parts. Texture also determines the degree to which the surfaces of a form reflect or absorb incident light.
Position

The location of a form relative to its environment or the visual field within which it is seem.

Orientation

The direction of a form relative to the ground plane, the compass points, other forms, or the person viewing the form. 

Visual Inertia

The degree of concentration and stability of a form. The visual inertia of a form depends on its geometry as well as its orientation relative to the ground plane, the pull of gravity, and our line of sight. 

Did you know all of these terms? Did the professors at architecture school teach you this?

All of the images were taken from the artist Jesus Perea, take a look at his work here.

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