Icons 1423861604 74 Facade Elements

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Entrances are part of the ritual of “entry”, marking the transition from one space to another. They can be functional, symbolic or both, and can be just an opening or contain doors and gates. Functional entries keep intruders out or prisoners in. Doors within entries also allow light and air in or keep heat from escaping. Symbolic entries mark an entrance, for example, to a tomb, gallery, or large hall and can welcome people, indicate status or imply meaning. Different sizes and styles of entries can tell you where the main entry is located. The location, size, type, style, materials and surrounding decorations are very different. The design of an entry can help you figure out what the building is used for and what kinds of people are inside.

Let me in!

Activity 1 – Face Me!

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People have different personalities. So do buildings. Ever walk into a party and check out the patrons? Each person has a personality. Ever walk down the street and look at the buildings? Every building has a different expression. People usually dress wearing shoes, pants, or skirts, shirt, sweater or blouse, hat or no hat. Take a closer look at a building. Is there a base or foundation where the building touches the ground? Is there a trunk or torso or body of the building? Is there a waist or belt area? Is there a crown or hat area? Ever think that dogs match their master or mistress? Maybe buildings do, too. The front view of a building, the elevation, is called the facade from the French word meaning face. Vitruvius, a Roman Architect authored the oldest known book written on architecture. In book IV, he writes about the proportions of the face.

Facades of buildings are like faces. Take a closer look!

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Activity 2 – Draw Doors

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Take your journal and step out into your town. Search for and select three entries that seem significant or of interest you. Draw each with an elevation diagram at ½” = 1’-0”. Pay attention to detail in material, color and pattern. Render your entries.

Make them come to life!

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Activity 3 – Redesign an Entry for Your School

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Look at the main entrance of your school as both a functional and symbolic entrance. Is it large enough? Does it keep out the cold air in the winter? Does it provide security? Can you tell that it’s the main entrance? What does it suggest about your school? Based on your observations of other buildings in your town, create a new design for your school’s entry in elevation to the scale of ½”= 1’-0”.

Start with a simple line drawing, then add materials, pattern and color.

Was it easy to find the materials? Was the material easy to work with? Did the material stay together? Does your shelter keep out water? Does your shelter keep you warm/cool? Is your shelter comfortable?

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  • What is the difference between a functional and symbolic entry?
  • The St. Louis Arch is a functional entry.
  • More money is spent on the front door to a house than the side door.
  • Entries can take you from public space to private space.
  • Entrances can inform the visitor about the function or status of the people and activities inside of the building.
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