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The architectural style or character of the building is the individual personality of

a building that emerges from a collective interaction of aesthetics, as they relate
to use and construction.

Character is the sum total result of all elements and principles of design.

Character is the quality. Style is the way or type. A manner in which a character is
expressed in a particular way. Styles may change but character doesnt undergo

Style is definite type of architecture distinguished by special characteristics or

type of structure, ornamentation etc. Style is an attribute of all good design,
contributing vitally to a character.

Character of a building denotes all those qualities which differentiate it from other
buildings. It is the notable feature of a building and describes the purpose of its

In design character is obtained not only from the natural or man made
elements but also from aspects like function, materials and technology of

The character of the building is reflected in terms of treatment of openings, scale

of elements, proportion of the smaller to the larger units etc.

Materials based on their intrinsic character or nature is to be used accordingly.

Ex: When stone is used it signifies strength as also long lasting nature. Similarly
use of glass denoted fragile character and one of the delicate nature than
strength. Materials like wood, steel or brick when used with their natural finishes
can give and enhance the beauty of the structure.

Character of a building is achieved willfully. It gives an identity to the building.

Character in its maturity can be called style. The same character when carried
over to all buildings at a particular time and over a same area will be called style.

Architectural character can be divided in to 3 categories:

1. Functional Character: In architecture it is developed as expressions of a building
which is the manifestation of internal function. The purpose or function of a
building gives us the external appearance of a building. Ex: Design of factory
building, industrial workshops, the layout of which are dictated purely by a
functional aspect.
The function can be static or dynamic, horizontal or vertical, compact or

A type of classification of functional character includes the: Permanent

structures will have performance of repetitive functions or actions. Hence
use of more permanent materials.

Incase of Semi-permanent structure use of materials will be of such a

nature which can be removed and reused like portable cabins, thatch roof,
or AC sheet, Polycarbonate sheet etc.

Transient structures are meant to satisfy the immediate need and can be
dismantled or removed. Ex: Exhibition pavilions, film or theatre sets
Also use of domes for large spans and use of columns and beams for
medium and smaller spans reflect the functional character of the structure.

2. Associated Character: This character develops from the influence of ideas or

impression related to or growing out of past experience. It is used to recognize a
building which has been associated with particular style.
Ex: Design of a temple out of religious belief or spiritual context, layout of a
house based on vaastu shaastras etc
3. Personal Character or Individual character: Each architect would express certain
character which makes hi/ her own style. Ex: Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier,
Charles Correa

Influences on style are:



Materials available

Religion and tradition

Construction Techniques


Usually repetition of features like columns, courtyards, ornaments openings etc. is seen.
Roof treatments, faade treatments all are repeated in a similar fashion in a particular
area and time.
Types of Style:

Based on place

Based on religion - Dravidian style, Chalukyan Style, Vijayanagar Style

Based on Structural techniques - Egyptian and Greek: Trabeated system

Egyptian, Roman, Greek etc.

Roman: Arcuated system

Gothic: Flying buttress
Early Christian: Pendentives
In design form is the end. The process of design envelopes the form which may be
generated by four main processes. They are:

Pragmatic Process,

Canonic Process

Iconic Process

Analogic Process


Pragmatic is flexible and open ended approach in which many possibilities for a
design may arise and all of them may be valid. This approach is seen in the initial
stages of any product, design of building or system.

This approach gives freedom for the designer to experiment with materials,
methods and modes of construction.

Pragmatic approach is always inventive and works on limitations than imitations.

Most of the pragmatic design will be contextual than universal as they address
particular problems. Hence cannot be duplicated anywhere.

All design is essentially pragmatic initially but becomes rigid through image
based and standardization later.


This process develops from Pragmatic process as it makes use of models

and ideas already seen in pragmatic stage i.e. repetition of ideas.

Factors like climate, materials and methods of construction create this basic
image. Ex: Use of pitched roof in coastal regions essentially functional and
appropriate for the context.

When an idea is repeatedly used it becomes tradition. Iconic examples over a

period of time form style.


Canonic approach is based on a set of standards developed over iconic stage

and examples and holds good to be repeated routinely and any deviation
from these standards is not accepted design wise.

This approach is essentially based on the two earlier processes viz. the
pragmatic and iconic processes.

Standardization or Canonization results when a particular element reaches its

optimization in terms of design.

Canonization helps in making things easy for assembling constructional

maintenance. It is rigid and there is no compromise or flexibility.

It is predictable and end results are assured and can be made universal.
Ex: The Modulor scale developed by Le Corbusier, human anthropometric
data, proportions formulated during the Renaissance period etc.

Structural design standards like the standard size of columns, beams, frames
etc. are designed such that the quality, safety and adequacy are ensured.

Canonization reflects discipline in design and hence desired results can be



Analogy is the most popular method of generating style in architecture as the

sources are widely varying and flexible.

Right from the early times forms have been derived from the organic forms
like floral and animal motifs etc. These are called biomorphic forms.

The Guggenheim Museum at New York by Frank Lloyd Wright where

the tree concept has been used.

The Johnson wax building by Frank Lloyd Wright where there is ideas
of Lilly Columns, Bahai Temple, Delhi inspired by Lotus flower etc.

Tensile roof structures inspired by the spiders web, Le Corbusiers

Ron Champ Chapel inspired by a bird, Stansted Airport in London The structural support system based on the concept of tree.

Geomorphic approach uses the site to maximum advantage with little

change. Ex: Tibetan Monasteries constructed along the contours

In Geomorphic approach the contours and levels and features are highlighted
through design. Japanese design approach highlights the geomorphic

Mechanomorphic method bases its idea on rigid geometry of machines in

terms of forms, colours and lines with hardly any decorative elements
highlights the functional aspect and derives beauty from forms, textures and
lines in their simplicity. Emphasizes on dynamism and universal application.
Ex: Shoe House, Mumbai,