Scale and Proportion

Many clients start off the design process by proudly handing us a sketch and disclaimer-“kinda like this”.  They tilt their head and wait for a reaction.  “Hmm”, I reply. How literally should I take this suggestion?Understanding scale and proportion is a lifetime endeavor. Depicting space is really difficult! (even with virtual reality and 3d animation)

yoda sage guru
Yodas Ears -maybe cute but disproportionate (for humans)

The client sketch can be helpful to a certain degree to have a sense of where they would like generally prefer spaces to be arranged…but I recently made the mistake of leaving behind some blank tracing paper.  Unfortunately, at the following meeting, she proceeded to produce an unworkable solution to a difficult problem and yes it is not fun to be the “dream-crusher” of a client’s efforts- who in turn is paying you!

Proportion and scale are critical to art and architecture, as well as life.

Scale illustration
Scale-big fish or little boat?

The image above can be questioned as a huge fish or small boat…  Is the scale wrong? When we talk about scale, we refer to the size of the object to its surroundings-not to itself. (i.e. The building is out of scale to the neighborhood) When we refer about an element of the object to the whole object we are talking about proportion (i.e. The door is beautifully-proportioned to the room)

Kudos to the clients that have the intuition to translate measured areas and  then draw on graph paper to help with a scale and proportion -as this is effort is the foundation of scale and proportion. Each “box: of the grid helps keep measurements accurate-so the scale and proportions are understandable.

McMansion picture

Shout out to the author of this website below that illustrates WHY the houses depicted are ugly-lacking proportion among other characteristics!

classical architecture elevation

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