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Theories & Approaches

Our beliefs shape the way we build. The resources on this page explore a variety of philosophical approaches to building design. From ancient Eastern philosophies like Feng Shui to modernism and Bauhaus, these ideas offer much insight into the world's great architecture.
  1. Accessibility (3)
  2. Adaptive Reuse (3)
  3. Architecture and Sex (4)
  4. Feng Shui (15)
  5. Modern Theories
  6. Social Concerns (9)

The Primitive Hut - Laugier's 18th Century Theory About Architecture
The French Jesuit priest Marc-Antoine Laugier proposed a theory of architecture that is still referred to today. Learn more about his Primitive Hut theory.

Dr. King Didn't Say That
Sometimes designs that seem great on paper meet with public outcry when the project is built. How did designers fix the controversial inscription on the Martin Luther King National Memorial?

Gehry Responds to Concert Hall Heat
Pritzker laureate Frank Gehry has had his share of controversial designs, but California's Walt Disney Concert Hall complex really made temperatures rise. Learn why.

What Is Architecture?
The answer can be complex! Find out how famous architects have defined architecture, and discuss what architecture means to you.

What Does Architectural Mean?
We use the word architectural to describe more than buildings! Explore the many meanings for the term.

What is Bauhaus? What is the International Style?
Flat roofs, smooth façades and cubic shapes characterize the Bauhaus style. Here's an easy introduction to the Bauhaus movement and the International Style, with links and photos.

What is Deconstructivism in Architecture?
Deconstructivist buildings may seem to have no visual logic. Use this quick reference to learn more about deconstructivism in architecture.

What is Formalism in Architecture?
Formalism in building design emphasizes highly structured visual relationships. Here's a photo and easy definition.

What is Modernism in Architecture?
Modernist architects attempt to apply scientific, analytical methods to design. Use these resources to learn more about modernism in architecture.

What is Postmodernism in Architecture?
Postmodernist architects use familiar shapes and details in unexpected, and sometimes amusing, ways. This page is your introduction to the postmodern movement, with photos, links, and resources.

What is Structuralism in Architecture?
Structuralist architects view design as a process of searching for basic, underlying structures. Here's an easy introduction with photo and links.

Who Is Rem Koolhaas?
The architecture of Rem Koolhaas is so unconventional that scholars have difficulty classifying him.

Sacred Geometry And Architecture
From the pyramids in Egypt to the new World Trade Center tower in New York, architecture uses the same essential building blocks as your body. Believers say that when we recognize and build upon these archetypal patterns, we create dwellings that comfort and inspire.

Top Ten Trends in Home Design
Theories of home design are changing as architects face concerns about the economy and the world energy crisis.

House Dreams
What does it mean when you dream about a house? Find out what psychologists say, and tell us about your own house dreams.

Opposites in Architecture
Even the greatest architects have been known to create uneasy partnerships

Books on School Design
Recommended texts and guidelines for planning and designing school buildings.

What Is Neo-Miesian?
Some critics call Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura Neo-Miesian. What does Neo-Miesian mean? Here's the answer.

Colorful Buildings
Bucking modernist trends, a few rebel architects have introduced bright colors into their work. See bright buildings by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Jean Nouvel, and other rule-breakers. Also find scholarly research about color in architectural design.

Words on Monuments
Mistakes sometimes happen when architects and artists carve words into memorial monuments and statues. Let's look at how inscriptions are used in important memorials such as the National Martin Luther King Jr Memorial and the National 9-11 Memorial.

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