What makes a façade beautiful?

Architects’ Perspectives on the Main Aspects That Inform Aesthetic Preferences in Façade Design

Authors

  • Alejandro Prieto Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Department of Architectural Engineering + Technology, Architectural Facades & Products Research Group
  • Mimi Oldenhave Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Department of Architectural Engineering + Technology, Architectural Facades & Products Research Group

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.7480/jfde.2021.2.5540

Keywords:

facade, design, aesthetics, architecture, interviews, content analysis

Abstract

The aesthetic of our built environment is perceived as an important aspect to consider for the design of human-centred cities, but a problem quickly arises in the presence of clashing conceptions of what we understand to be aesthetically pleasing. This paper adds to this discussion, by exploring architects’ aesthetic preferences in façade design, aiming to include design practitioners in a debate that so far has remained largely academic. Thus, the goal of the study was to identify relevant aspects, based on a series of semi-structured interviews with practitioners representing 34 architectural firms from The Netherlands, carried out from January to April 2020.

It was possible to identify two major types of aspects, and subsequent sub-groups. Intrinsic aspects (compositional, plastic, detail design, and character) comprise aspects that are characteristic of a façade as an object, while extrinsic aspects (human, intellectual, and contextual connection) consist of relational features, determining the perceived beauty of a façade in terms of its connections with an outside agent. The main identified aspects in each one of the groups, the potential relations among them, and their relative relevance within the surveyed sample were part of the assessment, comparing the outcomes against previous results from the literature.

References

Akalin, A., Yildirim, K., Wilson, C., & Kilicoglu, O. (2009). Architecture and engineering students' evaluations of house façades: Preference, complexity and impressiveness. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29(1), 124-132. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2008.05.005

Alberti, L. B. (1986). The Ten Books of Architecture - The 1755 Leoni Edition. (G. Leoni, Trans.). Dover Publications.

Alexander, C. (2004). The Nature of Order Four Volume Set: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe. Routledge.

Bell, S. (1993). Elements of Visual Design in the Landscape. Spon Press.

Breen, J. (2019). Patterns & Variations: Designerly Explorations in Architectural Composition and Perception. (Doctoral Dissertation). Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands.

Chamilothori, K., Chinazzo, G., Rodrigues, J., Dan-Glauser, E. S., Wienold, J., & Andersen, M. (2019). Subjective and physiological responses to façade and sunlight pattern geometry in virtual reality. Building and Environment, 150, 144-155. doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2019.01.009

Coburn, A., Kardan, O., Kotabe, H., Steinberg, J., Hout, M. C., Robbins, A., . . . Berman, M. G. (2019). Psychological responses to natural patterns in architecture. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 62, 133-145. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2019.02.007

Corbusier, L. (1953). Le Modulor [The Modulor] (R. Vera, Trans.). Editorial Poseidon.

de Botton, A. (2006). The Architecture of Happiness. Hamish Hamilton Ltd., Penguin Books.

El-Darwish, I. I. (2019). Fractal design in streetscape: Rethinking the visual aesthetics of building elevation composition. Alexandria Engineering Journal, 58(3), 957-966. doi:10.1016/j.aej.2019.08.010

Farkas, K., & Horvat, M. (2012). T.41.A.1: Building integration of Solar Thermal and Photovoltaics - Barriers, Needs and Strategies (T.41.A.1 ). Report T.41.A.1. IEA SHC Task 41, Subtask A

Jennath, K. A., & Nidhish, P. J. (2016). Aesthetic Judgement and Visual Impact of Architectural Forms: A Study of Library Buildings. Procedia Technology, 24, 1808-1818. doi:10.1016/j.protcy.2016.05.226

Keshtkaran, R., Habibi, A., & Sharif, H. (2017). Aesthetic Preferences for Visual Quality of Urban Landscape in Derak High-Rise Buildings (Shiraz). Journal of Sustainable Development, 10(5). doi:10.5539/jsd.v10n5p94

Kirsch, L. P., Urgesi, C., & Cross, E. S. (2016). Shaping and reshaping the aesthetic brain: Emerging perspectives on the neurobiology of embodied aesthetics. Neurosci Biobehav Rev, 62, 56-68. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.12.005

Krier, R. (1988). Architectural Composition. Rizzoli.

Meerwein, G., Rodeck, B., Mahnke, F. H., Bruce, L., Gaskins, M. D., & Cohen, P. (2007). Color: Communication in Architectural Space. SPRINGER VERLAG NY.

Megahed, Y. & Gabr, H. (2010). Quantitative architectural aesthetic assessment - Applying Birkhoff’s Aesthetic Measure in Architecture.

Mikellides, B. (2012). Colour psychology: the emotional effects of colour perception. 105-128. doi:10.1533/9780857095534.1.105

Nasar, J. (1994). Urban Design Aesthetics - The evaluative qualities of building exteriors. Environment and Behaviour, 26(3), 377-401.

O'Connor, Z. (2008). Façade colour and aesthetic response: Examining patterns of response within the context of urban design and planning policy in Sydney (Doctoral Dissertation). The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

Pearce, M., Zaidel, D., Vartanian, O., Skov, M., Leder, H., Chatterjee, A., & Nadal, M. (2016). The Cognitive Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11(2), 265-279.

Prieto, A., Klein, T., Knaack, U., & Auer, T. (2017). Main perceived barriers for the development of building service integrated façades: Results from an exploratory expert survey. Journal of Building Engineering, 13, 96-106. doi:10.1016/j.jobe.2017.07.008

Rolls, E. T. (2014). Neuroculture: art, aesthetics, and the brain. Rendiconti Lincei, 25(3), 291-307. doi:10.1007/s12210-013-0276-7

Salingaros, N. A. (1995). The Laws of Architecture From a Physicist's Perspective. doi:10.4006/1.3029208

Salingaros, N. A. (1999). Architecture, Patterns, and Mathematics. Nexus Network Journal, 1(1-2), 75-86. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00004-998-0006-0

Salingaros, N. A. (2000). The structure of pattern languages. Architectural Research Quarterly, 4, 149-161. doi:10.1017/S1359135500002591

Smith, P. (2003). The Dynamics of Delight - Architecture and Aesthetics.

Tablada, A., Kosorić, V., Huang, H., Lau, S. S. Y., & Shabunko, V. (2020). Architectural quality of the productive façades integrating photovoltaic and vertical farming systems: Survey among experts in Singapore. Frontiers of Architectural Research, 9(2), 301-318. doi:10.1016/j.foar.2019.12.005

Tinio, P. P., & Leder, H. (2009). Just how stable are stable aesthetic features? Symmetry, complexity, and the jaws of massive familiarization. Acta Psychologica, 130(3), 241-250. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2009.01.001

Vitruvius, M., & Morris, M. t. (1914). Vitruvius: The Ten Books on Architecture (English edition) (M. H. Morgan, Trans.). Harvard University Press.

Downloads

Published

2021-07-01

How to Cite

Prieto, A., & Oldenhave, M. (2021). What makes a façade beautiful? Architects’ Perspectives on the Main Aspects That Inform Aesthetic Preferences in Façade Design. Journal of Facade Design and Engineering, 9(2), 21–46. https://doi.org/10.7480/jfde.2021.2.5540