Activity 1.1.2 Design Principles and
Elements
Introduction
Have you ever noticed how buildings of similar size and
shape can have completely different visual effects?
Architects, like artists, must understand the elements
and principles of design and how they affect the visual
impact of the building on a viewer. Whether it is the
intent of the architect to create a feeling of strength and
stability or to create an unusual form that will elicit a
double-take from the public, the elements and principles
of design can be used to manipulate the intellectual and
emotional reactions of the people who see and use the
building.
Equipment

Principles and Elements of Design Applied to
Architecture presentation notes
Procedure
In this activity you will identify design elements and principles as they pertain to
images of structures.
For each of the following, choose one element of design and one principle of design
that you feel is most prominent in the image and then justify your choice.
Word Bank
Balance
Color
Emphasis
Form
Line
Proportion/Scale
Rhythm
Shape
Space
Texture
Unity
Value
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1. Principle of Design
Random Rhythm and Unity
Justification:
The structure has a random
rhythm because the arches seem to
be at different sizes and there
doesn’t seem to have a pattern. The
structure has unity from the
consistent use of gray.
Element of Design
Vertical Lines, Form and Shape,
Texture
Justification:
The structure has vertical lines
from the columns. It has a
cylindrical form from its columns.
The structure shows rough
texture because the surface
appears dark.
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2. Principle of Design
Symmetrical Balance, Graduated
Rhythm, Emphasis, Unity
Justification:
The structure has symmetrical
balance because the left and right
side of the building are identical. The
structure has graduated rhythm from
the reduction in size at each level.
The top of the tower had emphasis
because it’s shiny and pointy. The
building has a consistent use of the
light color
Element of Design
Vertical Lines, Smooth texture,
Justification:
The structure has vertical lines
from the columns and has a
serious environment. The texture
of the building is smooth because
of the light color.
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3. Principle of Design
Asymmetrical Balance, Random
Rhythm, Emphasis, Unity
Justification:
The structure has asymmetrical
balance because one side appears
to not be identical to the other but
seems to have equal distance. The
structure has random rhythm since it
has irregular intervals. The structure
seems to have Unity from the lines.
Element of Design
Vertical Lines, Shapes, Rough
Texture,
Justification:
The structure has vertical lines
and appears to have a serious
environment. The structure has
rectangular shapes. The structure
has a rough structure because it is
dark.
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CEA – Unit 1 – Lesson 1.1 – Activity 1.1.2 – Design Principles and Elements – Page 4
4. Principle of Design
Gradated Rhythm, emphasis,
Proportion and scale, movement,
Unity
Justification:
The structure repeats in pattern
and gets smaller as it goes up. The
building displays emphasis from the
shape. The building has a good
proportion to its size. The building
feels like its movement from the
curviness. The Building has
consistent use of curved lines.
©Istockphoto.com
City Hall and London Bridge
Element of Design
Curved lines, Color, Form, Smooth
texture, Value
Justification:
The building has a soothing feeling.
It has cool colors such as blue. The
building has a circular form. The
building has a smooth texture from
the glass surface. The building has
tinted colors.
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5. Principle of Design
Symmetrical Balance, Regular
Rhythm, Emphasis,
Justification:
The structure appears to be
symmetrical from the man in blue.
The structure has regular rhythm
from the text and people in the
image. The image has emphasis to
the viewer.
Element of Design:
Value and form
Justification:
The image on the structure has a
shaded color. The form is circular
from being an arch.
6. Principle of Design
Symmetrical Balance, Regular
Rhythm, Contrast, unity,
movement
Justification:
The building has the same
dimensions. Every floor is similar to
one another. The contrast is from the
blue block. The lines give the
structure unity. There is also an
outward movement.
Element of Design
Horizontal lines, color, form,
texture
©Istockphoto.com
Justification:
The horizontal lines make the
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structure appear calm. The building
has cool colors. The building has
triangular form. The building has
smooth texture from its light color.
7. Principle of Design
Horizontal Balance, random
rhythm, emphasis, movement
Justification:
The building seems to have
horizontal balance due to the even
construction levels. The rhythm
comes from the height of the roofs
and contains movement though the
curved parts. The emphasis is
shown at the entrance.
©Istockphoto.com
Element of Design
Curved lines, space, texture
Justification:
The lines are curved from the
arches. The building seems to be in
a wide open space. The texture is
smooth from the light color.
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8. Principle of Design
Balance, regular rhythm,
proportion and scale, and unity
Justification:
The aqueduct has a horizontal
balance though the patterns. The
aqueduct repeats in a regular pattern
of arches. The arches and columns
preserve the unity.
Microsoft Office clipart
Roman aqueduct
Element of Design
Horizontal lines, form and shape,
rough texture
Justification:
The horizontal lines are present a
lot. There seems to be rectangular
shapes at the aqueduct. The texture
is from the dark stones.
9. Principle of Design
Symmetrical balance, regular
rhythm, emphasis
Justification:
The columns on the left and right
side of the image presents
symmetrical balance and regular
rhythm. The emphasis is shown
at the golden wall with paintings.
Element of Design
Vertical lines, color, form, and
space
Justification:
The vertical lines are shown in
the columns, showing
seriousness. The room displays
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gold and white colors. The area
is very spacious to present the
wall.
10. Principle of Design
Regular rhythm, proportion
and scale, movement, contrast
Justification:
Every house has a repeating
pattern on its style and only changes
its color. Each house seems
proportionally even. The houses
appear to be moving to the right. The
color of the house and the window
frame colors stand out.
Element of Design
Horizontal lines, color, value,
form and shape
Justification:
The houses display a lot of
horizontal lines on the houses. The
color of each house is unique. Most
of the colors are cool and warm
colors. The colors of the houses
seem different because some of the
houses are using tinted or shaded
colors. The houses all appear
rectangular and triangular in many
areas like the attic windows and the
windows.
Conclusion
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1. In what way do certain elements or principles identify the time period in which a
structure was created?
2. What factors might account for an incorrect identification?
3. Describe an example of a way that design principles and elements could impact
the function of a building.
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Activity 1.1.2 Design Principles and Elements