What is Grid ?

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Ubiquitous Urbanism, Studio Hadid/ Schumacher, Columbia University, 1993, layering process: inflection/ interarticulation

Grid Definition : 
  • Structural grid, modular grid; a regular framework of reference lines to which the dimensions of major structural components of the plan of a building are fixed.
  •  in town planning, a checkerboard network of intersecting streets and avenues forming the basic layout of a city or town.

Grid Line Definition : 
One of the lines marking a structural, modular or layout grid of a building,  to which dimensions are coordinated.

Grid Plan Definition : 
An urban plan type in which streets are laid out in an orthogonal network, forming a pattern of approximately rectangular blocks; also called a checkerboard plan, checkerboard plan, chessboard plan or gridiron plan.

Grids in Graphic design : 
The most flexible foundation to support the designer working in two and three dimensions is that of the grid. The grid divides a two-dimensional or three-dimensional space into smaller compartments. The fields or compartments may be the same or different in size.

Space caught in the net of order. 

The Greeks 

The Greek city of (Miletus):
It's plan was to first articulate the value of the grid as an expression of social order and rationality.

Hippodamus of Miletus
Hippodamus of Miletus is the leader and most famous city planner. Aristoteles is the best resource for us to learn about him. Aristoteles says these about him "long haired, extraordinary personality and has ideas about the ideal city". He had specially planed Athens (Piraeus).

Athens (Piraeus), the most famous cities of the time was completely rebuilt by Hippodamus in symmetric. Streets intersecting each other in parallel and straight. Hippodamus rebuilt Miletus where he was born according to this plan. Then the plan was applied in Thurio and Rhodes in southern Italy.

According to Hippodamus, Agora was the first and the most important building in a city. As Agora was the life center of a city a few perpendicular blocks are left for it. After that gymnasium, stadium, theater and official buildings were located. Then the settled areas were located. There is no information about the separate settlements for aristocrats, soldiers and poor people. But the poor people were out of the city and far from these places. Underground sewage system was applied the entire city and there were drainpipes. They were built separately then the roads, streets and city walls. Main doors of City walls were open to an important street.

The Romans : 

The grid of the Roman towns were derived from miltary camps and was organized around two principal streets, set at right angles to each other and called the Cardo Maximus (north-south) and Decumanus Maximus (east west).

At their intersection was the Forum or marketplace, the Basilica or law court, the Curia or meeting hall, and a Capitolium for official state worship, dating from Hadrian's reign (AD 117-138).

This system was expanded across Europe to impose order om occupied territory.

The Beaux-Arts : 

The first concreted attempt to promote the use of an abstract grid of dimensions to coordinate the plans, sections and elevations of buildings in France by Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand.
 He was an important figure in Neoclassicism, and his system of design using simple modular elements anticipated modern industrialized building components.

He used the basic architectural meter as the module, this was measured as the center to center distance between columns, rather than as a column diameter, which had been proportionally related to the human body.

Germany : 
The method of Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand was popular in Germany by Neoclassicist architects such as Karl Friedrich Schinkel, and Leo von Klenze, and it inspired the attempt to create a comprehensive dimensional guidance for architects by Ernst Neufert a German architect who is known as an assistant of Walter Gropius, as a teacher and member of various standardization organizations, and especially for his essential handbook Architects' data.

The International style and the Machine age : 

This idea was very appealing universally where grids are used as means of coordinating the dimensions of a building and the elements which are built and assembled in a factory leaving little room for adjustment on site.

The modernist free plan :
The grid became means of allowing freedom in the organization in space.
Open plan :
Schematic plans. Projects by L. Mies van der Rohe, Brick Country House

Schematic plans. Projects by L. Mies van der Rohe. a: Brick Country House, 1924. b: Core House, 1951-1952 [Colombo, L. F., 2015. Orig.: MoMA NY]

Zaha Hadid Architects, One North Masterplan, Singapore

Reference :
100 Ideas that Changed Architecture: Richard Weston
Dictionary of Architecture and Building Construction (2008)

Architecture theory : Deconstruction | Bernard Tschumi

Derrida.... asked me why architects should be interested in his work, since, he observed, ‘deconstruction is anti‐form, antihierarchy, anti‐structure – the opposite of all architecture
stands for.’ ‘Precisely for this reason,’ was my response” ( Bernard Tschumi)

Who is Jacque Derrida (1930 – 2004) ?
He is a philospher who works on the borders of concepts not to show oppositions but to show that concepts spill over one another, as soon as concepts are contaminated with that which is considered exterior or opposite to them, they are no longer what they are or what we thought they are.

Deconstruction in Architecture (Notes and How to) :

• Using the ambiguity of poststructuralism to create works of ambiguity and scandal
• Revolting against modernism
• Advocating acontextualism and creating an architecture that would undo the notion of a
building into a solid physical object
• Acontextualism: removed the building from its context
• Deconstruction: removes the building from itself

What does Poststructuralism entitle : 
• It is an an attack on structuralism
• The text is an independent structure that could be studied independently of an authorial intention
• The elimination of the author from the text
• Writing is a compliment to speech that threatens to carry meanings from the author to a place where he has no control over it
• There is no ONE meaning, instead there are READINGS
• There are no truths
• The practice of an art contains its theory, not as truth, but as a filter through which the work can be seen
• Studies the tension between the writer’s desire to establish meaning and language’s ability to escape his control.

Background and influences of Poststructuralism and Deconstruction: 
• Departure of religious faith
• Cultural pluralism
• Nietzsche: Absurdity of the world, nostalgia, passion
• Freud: the human self as a fragmented entity strange to itself
• Derrida: changes in the perception of the human condition made it impossible to construct coherent creations

Who is Bernard Tschumi :
 (born 25 January 1944 in Lausanne, Switzerland) is an architect, writer, and educator, commonly associated with deconstructivism. Son of the well-known Swiss architect Jean Tschumi and a French mother, Tschumi is a dual French-Swiss national who works and lives in New York City and Paris. He studied in Paris and at ETH in Zurich, where he received his degree in architecture in 1969.

Architecture and Limits I, II, III – Bernard Tschumi (1980‐81)
Works at the limits :

• There are productions at the limits of literature, music, theatre and architecture
• These positions inform us about the state of art, its paradoxes, and its contradictions
• They are a luxury in the field of knowledge
• These works of the limit provide isolated episodes amidst the mainstream of commercial architectural production
• The twentieth century has dropped the Vitruvian triology and moved to more radical questions at the limits
• Appearance was replaced for linguistic theory in architecture
• Structure and materiality is no longer an issue since anything can be built using modern technology
• Functionalism has been replaced by the relationship of the body to the building, senses, movement,Building and architecture
• Architecture does not exist without drawings, buildings do
• Architecture goes beyond the process of building
• There are unbuilt architectural projects (not buildings) that inform us about the state of architecture more than the buildings of their time
• Building is about usefulness, architecture is not necessarily soArchitecture and art
• Architectural drawings refer to something outside themselves
• Art paintings refer to themselves
• Criticises historians for dismissing some works as being “paper architecture” and as art
• These works are the strategic areas of architecture and they decide its direction
• Architecture does not need to adhere to any norms (linguistic, material, structural) but can distort
them all
• Rejection implies fear of change

Notes Toward a Theory of Architectural Disjunction – Bernard Tschumi (1988) :

• Questions the notion of unity
• No beginning and no end
• Repetitions, distortions, superimpositions

• Challenges the idea of order

• Derrida’s work at the limits 
• The act of making architecture and not architecture itself

• It is not a concept, rather an effect
• Its implies limits and interruptions
• Superimpositions and repetition
• At no moment can any part become a totality, each part leads to the other

“The concept of disjunction is incompatible with a static, autonomous, structural view of architecture. But it is not anti‐autonomy or antistructure; it simply implies constant, mechanical operations that systematically produce dissociation (Derrida would call it differance) in space and time, where an architectural element only functions by colliding with a programmatic element, with the movement of bodies or whatever. In this manner, disjunction becomes a systematic and
theoretical tool for the making of architecture.” (Tschumi)

References :
Google Image search | Tschumi Sketches
Book : Architecture and Limits I, II, III – Bernard Tschumi (1980‐81) http://www.tschumi.com/publications/35/

What is a Module ?

Module Basic Definition : A repetition of a standard unit of space and form. 

The Ancient Greeks : 

Adopted the modular concept in their architecture systems proportioning the Classical Orders, the chosen module was half the diameter of the column measured at its base, divided into 30 equal parts. (as mentioned in the 10 books of architecture). The roman architect Vitruvius advised the within a temple a certain part should be selected as a standard...The size of a Doric temple should be equal to the width of a triglyph. 

Triglyph : a tablet in a Doric frieze with three vertical grooves alternating with metopes.

Triglyph: The Parthenon

Ancient China: 

*Yingzao Fashi: Twelfth-Century Chinese Building Manual.
The Yingzao Fashi (Chinese: 營造法式; pinyin: yíngzàofǎshì; literally: "Treatise on Architectural Methods or State Building Standards") is a technical treatise on architecture and craftsmanship written by the Chinese author Li Jie (李誡; 1065–1110),the Directorate of Buildings and Construction during the mid Song Dynasty of China. A promising architect, he revised many older treatises on architecture from 1097 to 1100. By 1100, he had completed his own architectural work, which he presented to Emperor Zhezong of Song. The emperor's successor, Emperor Huizong of Song, had the book published in 1103 in order to provide a unified set of architectural standards for builders, architects, and literate craftsmen as well as for the engineering agencies of the central government.With his book becoming a noted success, Li Jie was promoted by Huizong as the Director of Palace Buildings.

*Qing Structural Regulations (清式营造则例) is a monograph on Qing dynasty architecture by the Chinese architect Liang Sicheng, first published in 1934.
Liang based his research of Qing dynasty architecture on the 1734 Qing dynasty Architecture Method (Qing Gongcheng Zuofa Zeli 清工程做法则例) of the Qianlong era. He also consulted several craftsmen's manuscripts which had been handed down from generation to generation, and he sought guidance with the palace restoration craftsmen in Beijing. The Forbidden City was the subject of an intense object of study, which he documented with modern drawings and a large number of photographs taken by himself and by his wife. In the end, Liang deciphered a large amount of obscure jargon, making it intelligible to students of architecture, and clarifying the structural characteristics of ancient Chinese architecture.
Revolving-Buddhist Sutra Case, Yingzao Fashi (1103)

Traditional Japanese Houses used standard tatami mats as a planning module 

Tatami: Tatami mats are thick, woven straw mats that measure about one by two meters in size. Originally a luxury that only the wealthy could afford, tatami gradually became more common and can now be found in virtually all traditional Japanese homes. Tatami mats have been so integral to Japanese homes, that the size of rooms in Japan is commonly measured by the number of mats that would fit it, e.g. an 8-mat room. Note that footwear - even slippers - should be removed before stepping onto tatami.

European Architecture : 

Believed to have attuned the buildings from the cosmos and the Human body, to the 'rational' requirements of industrial construction, based on books published by the French architect Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand .
-Recueil et parallèle des édifices de tout genre, anciens et modernes : remarquables par leur beauté, par leur grandeur, ou par leur singularité, et dessinés sur une même échelle by J.N.L. Durand. pub. D. Avanzo; (1830?)
- Précis des leçons d'architecture données à l'École royale polytechnique by J.N.L. Durand. pub. Chez l'auteur; (1809)

He laid down the methods of architecture today, Le Recueil offered 92 'precedent studies' to facilitate analysis and emulation of histroical buildings with the same functional program.
- Le Précis dealt with the modern needs hygiene and health, administration and justice, education and politics.

Ernst Neufert : 
One of the most influential book (Architect's Data) first published in 1936, which was widely translated and emulated, systematizing architectural knowledge.

Modularity has inspired a lot of architects towards a more poetic vision such as Jean Prouve and Moshe Safadie.

Moshe Safdie habitat 67, (Montreal, Canada)

References : 
100 Ideas that Changed Architecture: Richard Weston - Amazon.com
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8746667

What is Ideal ?

Aldo Rossi | Illustration 

Aldo Rossi | Teatro del Mondo 

Le Corbusier :
"He argued that by following the Engineer's Aesthetic the architect could achieve a platonic grandeur that would resonate on a sounding-board possessed by everyone. This was inspired by the law economy of economy and governed mathematical calculation based on the universal aesthetic of the machine age."

The Idealist view was derived from Plato, and its interpretation continues to exercise philosophers.

It's easier to describe it's impact on architecture, by arguing that all object in the physical realm are imperfect variations of ideal versions that exist in the realm of ideas Plato gave rise to traditional representation of the ideal form.  (Look up Utopia)

Sir Christopher Wren on Idealism:
"There are two causes of beauty - natural and customary. Natural is from geometry consisiting in uniformity, that is equaliy and proportion. Customary beauty is begotten by the use, as familiarity breeds a love for things not in themselves lovely. Here lies the great occasion of errors, but always the true test is natural or germetrical beauty. Geometrical figures are naturally more beauful than irregular ones : the square, the circle are the most beautiful, next to the parallelogram and the oval. There are only two beautiful positions of straight lines, perpendicular and horizontal; this is the form of nature and consequently necessity, no other than upright being firm  "

Emphasis :
Form, Proportion, Symmetry. 
influencing works of architects such :  Leon Battista Alberti and Andrea Palladio.

Villa Capra "La Rotonda"

 Santa Maria Novella

Winckelmann on Ideal Forms :
"He rejected the sensual nature of art and advocated an idealized expressionless beauty based on pure form, free of secondary elements such as color and texture - Le Corbusier 'Law of Rippon' (A French whitewash) as means of revealing the formal qualities of architecture"

Read more - "The Mathematics of the ideal villa , by Colin Rowe"
Wheres he compared Le Corbusier early work with Palladio.

Forms Free of Imperfection. 
- 100 Ideas that Changed Architecture 
Book by Richard Weston

References :
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5315960
100 Ideas that Changed Architecture: Richard Weston - Amazon.com
By No machine-readable author provided. JoJan assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=409060

What is : Humanism ?

1_Piero della Francesca - Flagellation of Christ (c.1455-60)
Showcasing a Pictorial space using perspective.  
Buildings built around the proportions of the human figure. 

Mid-fifteenth century
  • - General curriculum (studia humanitatis)
  • - New world view  

Renaissance humanism was the value of the individual.

2 _ 16th century portrait of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.

Pico della Mirandola | Seminal Thesis (An Oration on the Dignity of Man) :
He argued that unlike all other forms of life, man had been created without a fixed place 'in order of things', but had the freedom to choose either to 'degenerate into the lower orders of life' or be born into the higher forms, which are divine' The great Craftsman , had created man to contemplate his work.'

Jacob Burckhardt | Publication (The Civilization of the Renaissance on Italy):
He stressed the importance of the cult of individuality that has been passed to us the idea of artistic 'genius' and an emphasis of human subjectivity 'man becomes a self-aware individual and recognizes himself as such'.

Architecture : 
The new sense of Objectivity was manifested in the emphasis on abstract FORM and PROPORTION, through which it was believed that various works of art can be made to conform to the principles underlying both man and the universe, while the feeling of subjectivity could be embodied using perspective. 

3_10 Books of Architecture by Vitruvius

Read the 10 Books of Architecture by Vitruvius : 

4_Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian man

Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian man,
"Illustrating the ideal proportions of the "Ideal " man which he described in Book Three, De Architectura - proportions, which he argued, also was the base of the Classical Orders. "

5_Classical order of Classical Greek and Roman architecture (Columns)

A brief history of representing of the body in Western sculpture _ Khan Academy series : 

References : 
--100 Ideas that Changed Architecture by Richard Weston:
Image 1 : Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2030007 Image 2 : By Italian School, Anonymous - WestminsterCollege.edu, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6676044 Imge 3 : https://uae.souq.com/ae-en/vitruvius-the-ten-books-on-architecture-by-vitruvius-pollio-paperback-17863262/i/?a_source=google&a_medium=cpc&a_content=search_shopping&a_term=%7Bkeyword%7D&u_type=shopping&u_mt=%7Bmatchtype%7D&a_campaign=Shopping-UAE-EN-Books&gclid=CjwKEAjwppPKBRCGwrSpqK7Y5jcSJACHYbWYLJy89Lb9ZXWy9B-6vyupuhbMaEDYEMaYtYSm8HAg-RoCnwnw_wcB Image 4 : https://www.emaze.com/@ALIFRLZR/Leonardo-Da-Vinci

What is Ornament ?

John Lewis department store in Leicester, UK Foreign Office Architects

Ornament disguised as a pictogram and making the best possible use of modern technology is making a comeback and is no longer a crime. 

Definition : 
Two- or three-dimensional decoration, sculpture, carving etc. for the surfaces or spaces of a building or other object.
The need for ornament appears to be a universal one. an aspect of human condition which can be found in the caves of prehistoric man, in the pyramids and tombs of Ancient Egypt, the temples of Greece, the Middle Ages, the geometric ornamentation of Islam, and the patterned wall papers and textiles of today. 

There are two aspects/ schools of thoughts that are basically for and against ornamentation, as in the current time 21 century, a decline in the use of ornaments are noticed due to the minimalist movement and idealism architects seem to be adapting, ornaments are to be an integral part of the building and not a secondary element (Ornament is crime) .

Can ornaments answer the question of identity in architectural design and be an important structural element of the design ?
Few architects seem to have found a middle ground when it comes to using ornaments integrated in the design vs. it being a stick on the design kind of statement. 

Advocates of the Modern architecture took two broad approaches to the problematic issue of ornament, they either eliminated it (Pure space and true construction) thus empowering the values of the machine age, or devise a new contemporary ornamental vocabulary. 

Architects such as  Antoni Gaudi, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Jean Nouvel's works are illustrated here to showcase the modern implementation of ornaments in architectural design.

The use of ornaments in Greek orders 

Antoni Gaudí:
"What I saw in Barcelona – Gaudí – was the work of such strength, such faith, of an extraordinary technical capacity, manifested during a whole life of genius; of a man who carved the stones before his eyes in well thought out pattern. Gaudí is the ‘builder’ of the turn of the century, a man adept with stone, iron and brick. His glory is seen today in his country. Gaudí was a great artist; only those who move the sensitive hearts of gentle people remain. But they are mistreated in the course of their lives, misunderstood or accused of sin toward the mode of the day. Architecture’s significance is shown when there dominates evidence of lofty intentions that triumph over all the problems in the line of fire (structure, economy, technique, utility). Thanks to interior preparation, architecture is the fruit of character – just that, a manifestation of character." – Le Corbusier 

Antoni Gaudí helped the Catalan architecture to worldwide fame and reputation. Gaudí was also an architect and designer with a special ability to synthesise their own tradition and the courage to new technical solutions. He understood to integrate creative and plastic elements in his buildings.

Casa Milà

Casa Batlló

Friedensreich Hundertwasser:
Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928–2000) was an Austrian painter, architect, and sculptor best known for his architecture characterized by colorful, ornamental, and biomorphic shapes. He initially gained acclaim for his paintings, but later became more renowned for his unique architectural styling.
The green citadel of Magdeburg, Germany 

Maishima Incineration Plant in Osaka
Jean Nouvel:
Jean Nouvel born in 1945 is a French architect. Nouvel studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was a founding member of Mars 1976 and Syndicat de l'Architecture. He has obtained a number of prestigious distinctions over the course of his career, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (technically, the prize was awarded for the Institut du Monde Arabe which Nouvel designed), the Wolf Prize in Arts in 2005 and the Pritzker Prize in 2008.
 Philharmonie de Paris

Institut du Monde Arabe

Louvre Abu Dhabi
References  :

-By Unknown, scan by sidonius 16:34, 7 November 2006 (UTC) - Meyers Kleines Konversationslexikon. Fünfte, umgearbeitete und vermehrte Auflage. Bd. 1. Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig und Wien 1892., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1348314

--100 Ideas that Changed Architecture by Richard Weston:

Architecture Basics : Foundations

Definitions | Foundations, Pile, Retaining wall


  1. A subterranean structure designed to transmit the structural loading of a building to the underlying ground.
  2. Formation, subgrade, subsoil, ground; the bearing layer of soil or rock below the substructure of a building or other construction.

Parts of the Foundation 

In foundation technology, any vertical structural member of concrete, steel or timber used in series as a foundation on types of soil with poor or uneven bearing capacity; they transmit building loads deep into the ground or to bedrock, or function as earth retaining structures; vertically loaded piles are generally called bearing or foundation piles.

Types of Concrete Piles: 
Driven pile, precast pile
Batter pile, raking pile, inclined pile
Underreamed pile, belled pile, pedestal pile, enlarged base pile
End-bearing pile, point-bearing pile
Friction pile, cohesion pile
Cast-in-place pile, in-situ pile, bored pile
Pile casing
Augered pile, bored pile

Types of Concrete Piles 1 
Types of Concrete Piles 2 

Types of Steel and Timber piles: 
Box pile
Pipe pile, tubular pile –augered steel pile
Timber pile, wooden pile
Steel and Timber piles 
Retaining wall
A structural wall designed to withstand lateral forces from the abutting ground or a body of water on one side of it.

Types of Spread Foundations: 
Shallow foundation
Deep foundation
Strip foundation
Widestrip foundation
Trench-fill foundation
Pad foundation, column or isolated footing
Raft foundation
Bedrock foundation
Log grillage, log crib

Types of Retaining Walls:
Gravity wall
Cantilever wall
Counterfort wall
Cribbing, cribwork
Gabion wall
Anchored retaining wall; ground anchor, rock anchor
Anchored retaining wall;piled anchorage, anchor pile
Sheet piling, trench sheeting

Types of Foundations