Building Design

Constructive natural forms and architectural structures

Applied geometry serves as an intermediary between living nature and architecture. Studies of natural forms are aimed at revealing the regularities of formation of the structure of bioforms and establishing the ways of their geometric modeling, figuring out the degree of their rationality from the architectural point of view.

For example, the presence of analogies in the ways of formation of constructive natural forms and architectural structures helps to establish the best options for breaking curvilinear forms into standard elements with a minimum number of standard sizes.

At the level of elementary forms the language of nature is similar to the language of architecture. The study of these forms arising from the “art of combinations” of the organic world helps to realize the possibilities of architectural design in the industrialization of construction.

Symmetry facilitates both the creation and the drawing out of a project thanks to the “power of the template”, that “it is pleasant to realize that when you have drawn a capitel or part of a frieze, you no longer need to do anything and it remains only for sculptors to reproduce the work of one day several hundred times”.

A fundamental section of architectural symmetry theory, which develops idea of “pattern power”, can be seen in the study of lattices associated with construction technology, combinatorics, many variants of professional tasks in terms of standardization and unification of construction elements.

Using a flat grid as an ordering “tool” in the process of implementing the design concept and as a structural principle of building space – these particular aspects supplement the notion of the possibilities of symmetry in architecture and the multivalence of meanings of the concept itself.

Grids of facades and plans, the “framework” (lattice) of volumes as a structural support of the composition is nothing more than a professional development of the general scientific category – the so-called symmetry of lattice ornaments – and the symmetry of dense packings.

The main characteristic of a lattice is its regularity. The distribution of a large number of identical elements over the plan inevitably leads to the appearance of combinatorial regularity. A flat lattice is a partitioning of the plan into finite elements.

With regard to the conditions of industrialization division of the plan into finite elements can be regarded, respectively, as a partitioning of the structure into structural elements.

Typology of grids are built on the principle of their use in the design search: compositional grid the basis of the drawing or picture, constructive – the distribution of loads, planning or functional – the organization and use of space, etc.

If we take into account the relevance of the flat grid to various aspects of design (graphics, form, technology, organization, economy, etc.), then we can define its role as the integration of the design process.

Let us summarize the consideration of the geometric aspect of symmetry. Symmetry in architecture, on the plane or in space deals with the geometric model of the structure, characterizing its structure. Already within the framework of geometric approach the synthesizing role of symmetry is obvious. The symmetry concept allows to generalize and relate to a number of specific values relating to the various methods of constructing architectural forms.

All the above gives reason to take a different view at the traditional division and separate interpretation in the theory of architectural composition of the concepts of “rhythm”, “proportion”, “structure”, “likeness”, “proportionality. They are united by a broader concept of symmetry and can be disclosed in terms of symmetry, that is presented as special cases of some types of geometric transformations. Invariant images of geometry – the axis with a discrete number of points marked on it, a flat grid or system of its nodes, three-dimensional grid or spatial lattice – is the basis of the traditional visual language of architectural composition.

It turns out that any construction, the more ordered, in principle stated in the language of symmetry. Theoretically it is possible to describe in terms of symmetry and irregular “chaotic” composition. Chaos through symmetry is a paradox that seems to bring all reasoning to a standstill. However, it only indicates the presence of symmetry beyond the boundaries of the usual geometry of space and plane, more precisely, beyond the boundaries of the usual visual representations.

This aspect of the problem of symmetry in architecture involves an appeal to the traditions of culture, through the prism of which refracts the perception of the world of the artist, his creative imagination and fantasy. Here attention is directed to the socio-cultural prerequisites of both creation and perception of symmetrical architectural forms. Of particular interest is the observation of professional reaction, consciously or intuitively introducing elements of symmetry in building structures. We are talking about the traditions of compositional thinking (about this the second chapter of the book).

Symmetry turns out to be, as it were, at the point of intersection of various strands of contemporary knowledge about the nature of artistic creation with its traditions and the latest interpretations. Here is summarized knowledge about the person and is born the eternal question of the ways of creative realization of the individual. Symmetry as a kind of structural semantic commonality helps to outline the lines of that global unity of the aspects of the universe, which constitutes the deep meaning and content of scientific and artistic thought over the centuries.

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James Dennis