Architect's Toolbox: Proportion and Scale

Architect’s Toolbox: Proportion and Scale

Another instrument in the builder’s toolbox is “ratio and scale.” This refers to how the individual parts of a construction relate to one another and to how the general construction relates to its website and to people.

Note that scale does not necessarily imply size. A house can be using an scale. The opposite is true as well. A little home can live quite grandly with the usage of some oversized elements, layered spaces, and other layout characteristics.

Obtaining the proportions “right” is something which architects and designers try to find. While a few do so, others use methods like the golden ratio, a proportional system seen in nature (most famously the Nautilus shell) and in music.

Although most of us do not realize it, most of us come into contact with all the golden ratio (also known as the golden section or golden mean) several times a day when we flip a light on or off or plug something into a electric socket. That’s because the dimensions of the standard electrical cover plate are predicated on golden-section proportions. So the next time you turn on a light create a note that you are coming into contact with a proportional system which was used to design the Greek temples and Gothic cathedrals. Kind of cool, isn’t it?

Mahoney Architects & Interiors

1. Articulate the bits of a massive residence. This large home is divided into different pieces, each with its own roof, to provide it a much less overpowering scale or existence. The materials, colors and proportions tie the different segments together. Both the color and shape of the house also tie it into the surrounding mountains and landscaping.

Eck | MacNeely Architects inc..

2. Make a statement in the landscape. A house in a area or other enormous expanse of space should have a presence. So give it a scale and size that relates to that large open space and use a bold color or architectural details to emphasize its existence.

AIA, Bud Dietrich

3. Change the scale because you get closer to the house. Having the house relate to the size of a individual walking to the doorway makes it more comfortable to approach. Rather than keeping everything large or grandly overpowering, scale down the size of the architectural details and compress the space between them so there’s a direct correlation between the size of our own bodies and the scale of the house.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

4. Use a proportional system to set up dimensions. The ceiling height and room width of this design were ascertained with the golden section, a proportional system that’s been used for thousands of years. Since it is found in nature, it is generally considered to have the most pleasing proportions.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

This is the finished area, with everything from the ceiling height and place of the crown molding into the dimensions of the brick headboard wall predicated on golden section dimensional rules. Though a massive area, the scale and proportions still feel comfortable, not overpowering.

Christopher A Rose AIA, ASID

5. Use finishes and furniture to maintain an individual scale. The fireplace, seating structure and area rug provide an intimate setting in what is quite a large room with a tall ceiling. It’s akin to the idea of gathering around the campfire in the huge open outside.

Eck | MacNeely Architects inc..

6. Achieve a grand scale with oversize elements. Although this is most likely not a really large area, the scale is quite grand due to the vaulted ceiling and large chimney mass as well as the size and rhythm of the balustrade. The hints into the spaces beyond also provides the room a grandness it would otherwise lack.

Harvest Architecture, LLC

7. Use trim rail to reduce the perceived ceiling height. A photo rail in the door head height reduces the perceived ceiling height to make a more comfortable and cozy area. This is an especially handy detail whenever there’s a tall ceiling and you also ought to prevent the sensation of being in the base of a Dixie cup.

One Space at a Time, Inc..

8. Keep the present scale when incorporating on. Although there are occasions when the addition should be different from the original, keeping an addition in scale with the original house averts a jarring “look at me” result. The materials palette from original is repeated in the addition, so there’s a quiet blending from new and old.

More from the Architect’s Toolbox:
Hallways that Shine
Finding the Space Between
Beautifully Layered Spaces

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