‘I’ve Got This Drawing’: More than brick and mortar

‘I’ve got this drawing’: Composition in architecture and painting. Discover the connection between architecture and painting. You aren’t one or two dimensional. People are complex, just as their houses should be.

Composition in architecture and painting

From the earliest cave painters to Matisse and beyond, almost every painter creates a composition. Composition in architecture and painting is simply the arrangement of the creative work’s elements in the given space. This matters because, in painting for example, the canvas presents a flat surface and the painter doesn’t want the viewer’s eye to stop and stay in just one place or, worse, to look away. There are many different techniques that artists use to create visual interest in their work and help the eye move around the surface. Lines, shapes, colors, textures, light and dark; placement of forms; and manipulation of space around them all can all help achieve the desired effect.

Pick almost any painting from any era and you will see this illustrated. What people find most appealing tend to be paintings where there is not just one focal point, but rather the eye moves on to another and another. There’s a lot to absorb, to experience.

Rich and interesting composition

The same elements of composition should apply to works of architecture. Each façade of a building is primarily two-dimensional. Good building elevations have repetition and rhythm, yet there are interruptions, areas of special focus, light and dark, changes in color or texture. As a result, you don’t fully understand and appreciate at one glance the building elevation. Instead, you need to absorb what the architect has put into the composition.

At architecture school, we focus on this lesson in the early studios because it’s difficult to apply, even for the best students. They tend to start with linear compositions; we work with them to make their compositions richer and more interesting.

Inside and outside linked

The other thing about an exterior elevation is that it is a reflection of what’s happening inside the building. This is probably the most challenging aspect for non-architects. You might do a wonderful sketch of what you want your house to look like, but it will likely be an exterior only.

Read more here: https://kriegerarchitects.com/more-than-brick-and-mortar/

About the author

Jeff Krieger

During thirty-five years of architectural practice Jeff Krieger has acquired extensive experience in all aspects of the building process, from design through project management and construction administration. He has designed, detailed and managed numerous commercial, residential, and institutional projects throughout the United States and abroad. Prior to founding the firm in 1992, Jeff worked for several well-known architectural firms, most recently with Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates in Philadelphia. He has been a registered architect since 1985 and has taught architectural design studios at Drexel University for thirty years. A Pittsburgh native, Jeff found the architecture of the iconic steel mills an early influence.