Revered Roman architect and author Vitruvius firmly believed, “architecture depends on order, arrangement, eurythmy, symmetry, propriety and economy.” In his architectural treatise he made detailed observations about the shape, size and proportion of residential buildings, sacred sites, palaces, government offices and commercial premises. Classical architects had a thorough knowledge about the profound impact of shapes on human lives. Etruscan and Greek architecture that thrived a few centuries before Vitruvius’ time also endorsed this view.
Eastern civilisations made detailed acknowledgements of this fact in Sankhya Karika, Sthapatya Veda (which also contains vastu shastra) and feng shui. Very detailed suggestions of preferred plot shapes and sizes, shape of the building, each of its room and even the garden could be found in these books. Correctional methods are also advised in case any of failure in meeting the suggested guidelines.
Modern psychology has come to recognise the effects of shapes on our minds too. Winston Churchill was right in saying, “we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.” It is important for us to understand how the shapes of our houses impact our subconscious, particularly before deciding on important purchases or construction projects.
Square shaped plot, buildings and rooms are considered ideal for a number of reasons. A slightly rectangular structure is also well appreciated. Distribution of space becomes easy in a square or moderately rectangular building. Positive energy travels well within its walls. According to vastu shastra this types of houses ensure general well being of the members of the family. Our minds are predisposed in searching for symmetry, so for us, a square shaped house looks more comfortable and appealing than any other shapes. Alpenchic, designed by Bau-Fritz GmBH & Co KG, can be described a fine example of a residential building like this.
In earlier time, a completely circular shaped house was built only for special purposes. Nowadays, it has become somewhat of a novelty. One of the main reasons for discouraging a circular or elliptical shaped building is it gives rise to a number of oddly shaped rooms. This looks fantastical and somewhat futuristic for a short while but loses its proper usability in the long haul.
Feng shui discourages erecting a circular structure for residential purposes. It is believed negative energy gets trapped inside a structure like this. Such a shape though is encouraged for other purposes like for a watchtower, conservatory, auditorium etc. Vitruvius suggested, “Towns should be laid out not as an exact square nor with salient angles, but in circular form, to give a view of the enemy from many points.”
Vertical and horizontal shapes are more of a recent development. The necessity of making full use of the available plot, growing smaller by the day, forced architects to conceive newer forms. While planning this type of houses, the shorter and longer arms of a building must be so balanced that overall it does not create any sense of anomaly. If possible, one part of the building should be completely reserved as a public quarter and the other as a private domain. ‘T’ and ‘L’ shaped houses must have duly balanced blocks as well.
Buildings with exaggerated sharp angles are another modern architectural marvel. While designing a house like this it is important for you to remember that the slanting edges must not create overly acute angles. A sense of proportion and aestheticism should be perceptible in the design. Otherwise, the structure would belie a comfortable home it is planning to be.
Build a structure like this only when you can afford high ceiling heights. Otherwise, you will end up creating a floor level with very low ceilings and unusable loft space. The ceiling should not look ominous from the interior of the building as well as from the exterior. Light up rooms well so that no dark areas remain close to the high ceilings. Our minds abhor uncertainties, particularly in one’s own nest.
Even after several millennia passed since their creations, monumental pyramids of Egypt do not fail to surprise us with their engineering and architectural ingenuity. The same can be said for the pyramidal structures of central and South America, China and South Korea. But in almost every case a pyramidal structure is used as burial chamber or a sacred site like in Borobudur. Even in modern time an entirely pyramidal structure is seldom used as a dwelling.
However, pyramidal roofs are quite common in almost every corner of Asia. Both pagoda and gopuram roof styles are a reflection of modified pyramidal shapes only. Such structures evolved as a part of sacred geometry so glorified in all ancient architectural discourses. These structures are not only beautiful, but are also considered suitable for the climate of the land in which they have evolved.
Soft and sensuous curves always enjoy a consistent fan following among the designers and general populace. Similes are drawn with a human body which has a general dislike for sharp edges and acute angles. If you are considering to build a house with soft curves then remember to meticulously plan the layout. Eliminate the chances of ending up with one or several odd shaped rooms. Otherwise you can have the same problems as noted in circular and elliptical buildings. Insist on having a fully functional and cheerful space and not solely on the originality of the design. Go through our other tips before buying a perfect house for you and your family. Turn your living space into an abode of happiness and tranquillity.