The Secrets of Architectural Composition

The Secrets of Architectural Composition


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Well arranged, logical, and aptly illustrated, this classic survey covers every aspect of the design process. It addresses architectural principles as well as their practical application, examining general questions of scale, balance, proportion, and symmetry and presenting detailed treatments of doors, windows, walls, stairways, columns, and other features.
Long acknowledged as a valuable resource for students and teachers alike, this volume is unsurpassed in terms of the richness of its material and the consistency of its insights. It was written by Nathaniel Cortlandt Curtis, an influential designer and artist who served as the head of the Tulane School of Architecture. Curtis illustrated his work with nearly 250 line drawings that depict architectural elements from a splendid variety of periods and settings, from ancient Rome's temples and palaces to modern-day hotels and museums of Paris and New York.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486480428
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 07/19/2011
Series: Dover Architecture Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 286
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

An influential educator, designer, artist, and writer, Nathaniel C. Curtis (1881-1953) was the head of the Tulane School of Architecture. The school awards a prize in his name for outstanding student essays relating to the theory or history of architecture.

Table of Contents

Part I

1 Dual Nature of Architecture 1

2 Fundamental Esthetic Laws of Architecture; Architectural Creation; Bibliography 6

Part II

1 Walls; Openings in Walls; Doors and Windows; Balustrades and Balconies; Roofs and Domes 17

2 The Antique Orders; Porticos and Arcades 32

3 Internal Wall Treatment; Floors and Ceilings 43

4 Vaults in General; The Decoration of Vaults 48

5 The Different Species of Vaults. The Barrel Vault; The Cloister Vault; The Domical Vault; The Cross Vault; The Raised Cross Vault; The Raised Annular Vault; The Vault on Pendentives; Construction of Models Bibliography and References 55

Part III

1 External Vestibules 67

2 Incorporated Vestibules 74

3 Vertical Communications. External Stairways; Interior Stairways; Their Location and Arrangement; Elevators 89

4 General Form and Design of the Room; Corridors and Passageways; Courts 104

5 Facades and Bays; Form of Mass; Wall Treatment; Varied or Broken Facades; Tower-like Buildings. Bibliography and References 117

Part IV

1 General Principles of Composition 139

2 Proportion and Scale 146

3 Specific Proportions Resulting from Construction; Variations in the Effective Proportions of the Orders of Architecture; Proportions for Arches 149

4 Proportions Resulting from Requirements of the Program; Proportions Resulting from Location and Environment; Geometrical Theory 158

5 Scale: The Relation between Scale and Proportion. Bibliography and References 167

Part V

1 Essentials of Programs in General; Requirements Resulting from Location and Style; Importance of Proper Indication in the Technique of the Sketch 117

2 Illustrative Programs for Buildings 177

Part VI

1 General Principles Relating to the Study of the Parti; Arrangement in General 187

2 Specific Arrangement 198

3 The Entourage 210

4 The Group Plan; Symmetrical and Unsymmetrical Partis; Sloping Sites. Bibliography and References 220

Part VII

1 The Development of the Parti; Criticisms by Instructors; Study of Buildings in Actuality 231

2 Documents; The Early Literature of Architecture 237

3 Modern Architectural Books. Bibliography 245

Customer Reviews