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Architecture, as we said previously, is a mixture of arts and science. Therefore, there will be certain types of rules that an architect will follow in order to make his building a piece of art instead of one more building.

Since the origins of architecture, there’s always been a concern about this, starting by the «firmitas, utilitas and vetustas» defined by Vitrubius. Here, I’m going to explain you some of them:


The space in architecture is both the most meaningful and noticeable thing in buildings. It’s not just about the cubic meters in a building, but about the distribution and the sensations a building produces when you go inside it.

It has been a concern since the very beginning of architecture:

  • In the classic period, the space was closed and compact, as we didn’t know much about physics, we couldn’t create diaphanous buildings with openings, so the only thing that was left was to make opened entrances supported by columns
  • In the renaissance, the necessity of order and perfection, lead us not only to closed buildings, but also to centralized spaces that were symmetric and followed mathematical rules
  • In the baroque, this centralized spaces acquired some tension by using the ellipse as a form of distribution.
  • While this was the European model, space in Asia was managed very differently. It didn’t have the traditional european centralization, but in fact, the distribution was organized in tatami spaces. The space was also not as closed as the european, as they conceived space as the sum of individual rooms.
  • Nowadays, the conception of space has changed to what we know as the modern space. We no longer think of rooms as individual boxes on the same plane. We’ve learned to connect spaces trough vertical communications and open rooms or join them together. This leads us to the contemporary space, a variation that ends with the horizontal plane and takes the conception of space to a whole new level.


The relation of contrast or camouflage:

It is the relationship between a building and it’s environment. While some architects want their buildings to outstand from the things that surround them, others prefer (or are obligated by law) to make a mimesis between their buildings and it’s environment, they adapt them to nature or even to the characteristics of buildings near them in order for them to blend with the environment.


It’s a sort of mimesis that is applied in nature in order to make buildings to form part of their surroundings.



It’s the sequence or repetition of shapes in space.


It’s a linear element that marks the direction and distributes the space and elements around it. We often use it on urban planning.


It’s the arrangement of parts of a body or figure in relation to an axle or plan.


It’s the relationship of supremacy of an element of big importance over others more ‘insignificants’ in respect to the first one.

The module and the gird:

While the first one is an element that serves as a proportional unit, the second one is a composition based on a grid of axes or modules that serve as a guide.

The movement:

It’s the variance on forms that visually leads us to think of movement. It is usually represented as waves.


It’s the edge of the elements of the composition, it marks a finish, but also a beginning.

The color:

It is the chromatic manifestation of the elements to be used. It’s used in order to make more noticeable a place, but it is also used by interior designers as a way of making a building look more diaphanous or even to inflict certain feeling on people.

The light:

It is one of the most important aspects in architecture. Architects can use it in order to create beautiful aloes that decorate the building.


As light and color, texture can also be a very good element to play with when it comes to design a building. Architects have the possibility to experiment with texture when it comes to the finishing of walls or even the furniture if we’re talking about interior designers. Remember, this texture can be both tactile and visual.


Mechanical functionalism:

It stands that beauty comes automatically from the most perfect mechanical efficiency.

Organic functionalism:

It’s the one where architecture adapts to the living functions, adapting to human activities.

Moralistic functionalism:

It’s the one where beauty appears in order to make visible the building’s utility.



  • The most primitive ones were made of wood and adobe
  • In Rome, blocks were introduced, as well as the concept of masonry
  • In the Romanesque period, arches and domes were introduced, this leads to more opened spaces
  • In the gothic, new elements that help the walls to be thinner as the pointed arch, the buttress, the ribbed vault or the pinnacles are introduced.
  • Nowadays: thanks to the new materials and the development of new technologies and informatic programs, we can make everything by computer, from the use of CAD to help on the design to the actual impression of concrete houses.