What do you see when you look at a building?
For me, it was usually a vague impression: it's old. It's new. It's beautiful. It's boring. It's got lots of windows. It's plain and looks like a prison.
But as I started looking closer, I started noticing more subtle differences. And I noticed I didn't have the vocabulary to describe that interesting … thing … over the sort of doorway area.
I wanted to learn more about what makes buildings special, and I needed to learn about all those elements so I could recognize them and talk about them.
Here's what I've learned.
There are lots of ways to look at a building:
- Type: What was this building built for?
- Composition: What is the overall layout, the most basic design, of the building – especially the facade?
- Massing: How are the overall shapes of the building put together?
- Style: Does it use elements of a particular architectural style?
- Ornamentation: What details have been added just to decorate the building?
- Parts of buildings: What common and uncommon elements can you see – doors, windows, balconies, towers?
- Facade Material: What is the building made of – especially the front, the most visible part?
- Construction: How was it built?
As I add new places to this site, I'll be exploring the different ways of looking at buildings.