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Architectural Essentials

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lentebriesje avatar lentebriesje
Retired Moderator
Level 89 : Elite Terraformer

Hello PlanetMinecrafters,

I'm doing a video series on Architectural Essentials in Minecraft, aiming to help you become a better builder. All the videos in this serie will be listed below in spoilers, so if you want to keep track consider to subscribe or favorit to be notified on updates!

Subjects that will be covered:

Sensory Elements
  • Shapes
  • Lines
  • Textures
  • Colors
  • Light and Dark
  • Space

Formal Elements

  • Pattern and Repetition
  • Rhythm
  • Symmetry and Asymmetry
  • Balance and Unbalance
  • Contrast
  • Proportion and Scale
  • Theme and Variation
  • Coherence and Unity in Variety


Shapes and Lines


Every building is made up out of shapes, examples would be squares, rectangles, triangles, sphere, circles, arches, domes, etc. Some shapes have unique properties.

Shapes featuring straight lines are very controlled and human as there are no straight lines in nature. This makes rectangles, squares, triangles, octagons, pentagons, etc. all very human shapes which work particularly well in industrial or modern style or in general in urban settings.

Circles have an other interesting property, they have no visual focus point. One can follow the outline of a circle and won't find a place to focus their attention on, as it's everywhere the same. Architects exploit this to draw attention to parts they want to feature. If we take a half sphere, a dome, and stick something we want to feature on top of it in the center, all the focus will be drawn to this thing, as there are no other visual focus point on a perfect dome. Examples, a church with a dome roof featuring an cross in the center, a mosque with a cressent moon on top or a theater with a pagado/pinacle on top.

Domes, arches and triangles have another interesting property with regards to structural integrity. They distribute energy/weight very effectivelly to the legs of the shape which then can be transfered to the ground. This is why you will see a lot of arches and traingular shapes in historical styles, as they used this property to support their structures. Domes feature the same property, and perfectly distribute the weight to the edges, this means you can have a large open space under a dome. An example would be the inside of a theater, where there are no pillars among the seets to support the roof, as it's self supporting, making it so that everyone has a clear view at the stage.

To illustrate how shapes affect the feel of architecture i'll use Lord of the Rings:
Circles - The shire features virtually no straight lines, making hobbits feel very natural and gentle
Angular - The human parts of LOTR feature a lot of angular elements, angles being very human this makes it fitting
Transitional - Ofcourse there are also transitional styles, Elven for example uses as well angular as circular/flowing designs making this a more challenging buildstyle. It also suggestive about the nature of the elven race.


Lines work the same as they do in fashion, vertical lines make things look thinner and taller, horizontal lines make stuff look fatter and wider. Vertical lines come in handy on parts of builds where you want to exagurate the height, an example would be a tower. Horizontal lines are typically used to show various floors on the exterior, these also act as supporting lines to easely divide the building in parts, which makes it more easely comprehensible.


Colors and Textures


Light & Dark and Space


Patterns & Repetition and Rhythm


Symmetry, Balance & Elements


The Early History of Architecture

This blog will be updated as more parts are recorded and published

5 Update Logs

Update #5 : by lentebriesje 11/16/2013 2:54:33 pmNov 16th, 2013

Episode 6 "The early history of Architecture" is out now! I know it took a bloody long time xD

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06/28/2018 2:20 pm
Level 30 : Artisan Architect
DreamBliss avatar
Thank you for giving us such an awesome series! Just in the first video I came to understand about horizontal and vertical lines, how they affect the appearance of a structure.

I am curious though... Have you ever, or will you ever, provide some sort of map/world save we can walk around and interact with as we learn these principles?
01/10/2016 11:33 pm
Level 37 : Artisan Dragon
rosedragon avatar
Wow wow wow! Hmm I have to watch these, I'm good with organics but poor with buildings. Maybe you will set me straight on the path to building decent architectures. :D Just fav-ing for now and will watch later ;) .
03/25/2015 6:42 pm
Level 56 : Grandmaster Grump
Kantorh avatar
These tutorials are absolutely brilliant. I always pass them along to new builders we bring into our crew, and I can tell that it helps them tremendously. 

((p.s. the missing letters on the various images of this thread is eating me alive))
03/27/2014 7:41 am
Level 24 : Expert Fisherman
Fishmastr avatar
Only watched the first video, and read the description. Even only that is outstanding. Pressed all links/buttons i found. Cant wait to have the time to watch all of this!
03/02/2014 3:08 pm
Level 60 : High Grandmaster Pokemon
Venom avatar
this is very helpful :D
02/11/2014 8:24 pm
Level 5 : Apprentice Crafter
camden365 avatar
this makes too much sense!!! all the learning hurts my brain! i used to just whack a couple arches and balconies on a square and call it perfect, but now i cant ever be proud of my buildings again. :P
11/19/2013 4:51 am
Level 1 : New Miner
QuarterPaul avatar
Durability, Utilty and Beauty Step:

11/19/2013 4:56 am
Level 89 : Elite Terraformer
lentebriesje avatar
Hahahah, this can't be a coincidence! I bet romans liked a bit of dubstep xD
11/16/2013 4:18 pm
Level 76 : Legendary Snark
Aximili avatar
100th favourite!
11/16/2013 5:03 pm
Level 89 : Elite Terraformer
lentebriesje avatar
Dangit, 100 favorits on a blog. I'm glad it's appreciated :)
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