Principles of Composition in Building Art

by Clayford T. Grimm, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Dir.; Center for Building Research, Univ. of Texas at Austin, Austin, Tex.,


Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1975, Vol. 101, Issue 9, Pg. 1739-1748


Document Type: Journal Paper

Abstract: Civil engineers are now required by law to consider esthetics in structural design. Although new disciplines of psychophysical and sociophysical technology are developing, present design principles in tectonic art have developed by the process of natural selection, the survival of the fittest. They provide a highly useful method for the arrangement of visual elements in the continuum of forms from smooth planes, through texture, relief, and mass to space. Style is defined as an expression of the design ideal; character as clarity of the statement; and unity as consistency in the symbol system. The ordered reoccurrence of elements is called rhythm. The relationship between parts of the design is termed proportion. The scale of space and its boundaries is related to appropriate size. A chronological ordering of the observer's exposure to space is defined as sequence.

Subject Headings: Structural design | Laws | Aesthetics | Social factors | Continuum mechanics | Domain boundary

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