The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 16

Symmetry

There is considerable evidence that symmetries, for most people,
contribute to an overall positive response. In particular, many
researchers have found that an innate preference for "reflectional"
or mirror symmetry appears within the first year of life and is found
in almost all people to some extent. This is not the only form of
symmetry, but in the building world, it is common. Overall symmetry does not appear in this building, but it is present in several
elements, in particular the gables and chimneys. If you look at prerenaissance European buildings, you find that certain elements,
such as gatehouses and towers, were often symmetrical, but the
buildings overall were not.
DUNTROON HOUSE INTERIOR
PHOTO: RICHARD JOHNSON

Pitched Roof

It has been demonstrated experimentally that roof form can be a dominant factor in
how people assess buildings, and that pitched roofs are favoured by many, at least
in European-derived cultures. This does not imply that every smaller-scale building
should have a pitched roof, but that a designer needs a good reason to reject it. Some
types of buildings have been subject to extensive market research: look at fast-food
restaurants, and notice how many of them contrive to look as if they have a pitched
roof, even though the basic form of the building dictates otherwise.
Novelty and Originality

A degree of novelty often generates a positive response. This house reflects the
basic forms of an Ontario farmhouse, but the atypical large glazed areas and turned
chimney add interest.
Novelty is a fascinating ingredient in design. It is rather like seasoning in a recipe:
a little enhances the flavour, but a lot can overpower it. Hekkert2 et al. noted that
"...typicality (operationalized as 'goodness of example') and novelty are jointly and
equally effective in explaining the aesthetic preference of consumer products, but that
they suppress each other's effect." Their experiments showed that "[P]eople prefer
novel designs as long as the novelty does not affect typicality. Preferred are products
with an optimal combination of both aspects."
Natural Setting

While Paul Roth was not responsible for the gorgeous natural setting, we know that
people respond positively to natural elements. They hold the viewers' interest, and
have a positive effect on various aspects of human emotion. It is not surprising that
this attitude has been exploited commercially. It has been found that having natural
features in a shopping mall improves perceptions of such seemingly unrelated factors
as willingness to pay for parking, product value, product quality, merchant responsiveness and price acceptance. Evidently, people will travel a greater distance to shop at
a place with trees.
It should be noted as well that the work of Landmark Landscape Designs also adds
much to the positive effect.
We also know that visual images will often evoke the same responses as viewing the
original object. For example, looking at the photographs accompanying this article will
evoke essentially the same set of feelings as actually seeing the house. Experiments
demonstrating the validity of photographic testing were undertaken in the early 1970s,
and the results repeatedly verified. So, it stands to reason that ornamentation that
simulates natural elements can elicit the same responses as the real thing. "Natural"
ornamentation, has been used extensively, from ancient Egyptian temples to such buildings as Louis Sullivan's works in Chicago, and the Simpsons/Bay building in Toronto.
Unity/Harmony/Elegance/Balance/Order/...

These are difficult qualities to define, although many attempts have been made
over the centuries. The basic question is: How well does a scene hang together?
16 | Read The Right Angle Journal online www.therightanglejournal.ca



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017

Message from the Board
Why aren’t All Buildings Beautiful?
Resilience: The Forest and the Trees
Index to Advertisers
Locations: City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 4
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 5
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 6
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Message from the Board
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Why aren’t All Buildings Beautiful?
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 9
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 10
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 13
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 14
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 15
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 16
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 17
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 18
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Resilience: The Forest and the Trees
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Index to Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Locations: City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 22
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover4
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