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The Weather Network
Jun. 17, 2019 | Monday
Editorials and Opinions
Architext: Creating harmony
An example of balanced composition. (Supplied)

As we explored in the last two columns, site and order establish the basic parameters for a ‘good’ design. Now the designer must consider balance which, pretty much like the name implies, is a design principle that, correctly applied, results in a facade where the left half has exactly the same visual weight as the right half.

Of the two common types of balance, symmetrical is the easiest to achieve. In this case, if we divide the facade into two equal parts, the left half will be a precise reflection of the right half. Symmetrical balance depends entirely on the faithful repetition of elements from right to left; one mistake and the facade will appear odd or worse, haphazard.   

Asymmetrical balance is a great deal more challenging. Here, the designer may use mass, shape, colour, proportion, placement/location of elements, combinations of materials, and more, to create the visual impression that one side of the house balances the weight of the other side. For example, the designer of the house in our photo used the placement, shape, size, and dark roofing material (dark values appear heavier) of the porch to create visual weight that helps to balance the projecting cross gable on the left half. Walk by this superb King Street house and see if you can spot other balancing elements.     

So here’s the key, balance complements and reinforces order. A properly balanced design is approachable, understandable, and most importantly ‘feels’ harmonious. Be aware, when building or renovating, design balance must be respected or the result will be a train-wreck!