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Architectural Essentials

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avatar lentebriesje
Site Moderator
Level 82 : 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 : 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

Comments : 56

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1 - 50 of 56

  • DreamBliss
  • Level 12
  • Journeyman Architect
  • June 28, 2018, 10:20 am
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?
  • rosedragon
  • Level 31
  • Artisan Dragon
  • January 10, 2016, 6:33 pm
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 ;) .
  • Kantorh
  • Level 48
  • Master Grump
  • March 25, 2015, 2:42 pm
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))
  • Fishmastr
  • Level 21
  • Expert Fisherman
  • March 27, 2014, 3:41 am
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!
  • Venom
  • Level 57
  • Grandmaster Pokemon
  • March 2, 2014, 10:08 am
this is very helpful :D
  • camden365
  • Level 5
  • Apprentice Crafter
  • February 11, 2014, 3:24 pm
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
  • QuarterPaul
  • Level 1
  • New Miner
  • November 18, 2013, 11:51 pm
Durability, Utilty and Beauty Step:

  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 82
  • Elite Terraformer
  • November 18, 2013, 11:56 pm
Hahahah, this can't be a coincidence! I bet romans liked a bit of dubstep xD
  • Aximili
  • Level 74
  • Legendary Snark
  • November 16, 2013, 11:18 am
100th favourite!
  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 82
  • Elite Terraformer
  • November 16, 2013, 12:03 pm
Dangit, 100 favorits on a blog. I'm glad it's appreciated :)
  • sheasawesome
  • Level 12
  • Journeyman Narwhal
  • November 14, 2013, 2:46 am
  • Kaduu
  • Level 2
  • Apprentice Skinner
  • September 9, 2013, 1:03 am
I really needed this. It's an amazing tutorial. I only knew about 1/10 of the stuff you showed in the tutorials. And I tought I know a lot more. I just learned about shapes. :o
  • m1n2
  • Level 24
  • Expert Architect
  • August 23, 2013, 10:09 am
Diamond 123,
really worth reading.
  • Makaramoto
  • Level 67
  • High Grandmaster Wizard
  • August 3, 2013, 8:42 pm
Very nice to have knowledgeable members in our community
  • Fighterbear12
  • Level 50
  • Grandmaster Musician
  • June 18, 2013, 12:05 pm
soo good! wow!
  • _DioM_
  • Level 26
  • Expert Scribe
  • June 10, 2013, 11:23 am
You are awesome. Thank you so much for these videos! Lately, I've wished to improve my building skills. I believe something has been found here!
Diamond #100 for you sir!
  • rizlaman
  • Level 20
  • Expert Architect
  • May 26, 2013, 2:07 pm
I've just watched the first video and already I'm blown away by your knowledge and insight..You must surely be an architect in real life? Anyway, diamond from me and I'm looking forward to watching your other videos..
Diamond #91
  • Jinzha
  • Level 1
  • New Explorer
  • May 3, 2013, 3:31 am
Great commentary and great tutorial!

I'm a Dutch guy and I might record a commentary soon, but I doubt I'm so scared to talk English for an audience :O
  • shaffirXD
  • Level 16
  • Journeyman Dragonborn
  • April 24, 2013, 9:03 am
Great work! It is amazing :D
  • Danster321
  • Level 2
  • Apprentice Crafter
  • April 10, 2013, 3:44 pm
Love your tutorials.
Keep it up! I'm subbing to you!
Also have a diamond. Nom nom nom. Eat it if you like. Or use it to level up.
  • thecompound
  • Level 41
  • Master Architect
  • April 2, 2013, 8:04 am
Love it! Keep up the good work
  • Arty
  • Level 6
  • Apprentice Grump
  • March 23, 2013, 3:36 pm
This is really really nicely done
  • Favorlock
  • Level 5
  • Apprentice Dragonborn
  • March 8, 2013, 1:35 pm
Looking forward to it.
  • jacje
  • Level 29
  • Expert Demolitionist
  • March 8, 2013, 7:20 am
Dutch people are just awesome!! (I'm dutch to :p )
  • MickyP+
  • Level 5
  • Apprentice Miner
  • March 8, 2013, 1:33 pm
and I'm going to live in the Netherlands for a year very soon
  • jacje
  • Level 29
  • Expert Demolitionist
  • March 11, 2013, 10:56 am
Okay nice, witch country??
  • Mikey757
  • Level 1
  • New Explorer
  • May 3, 2013, 7:47 pm
Netherlands is Holland (dutch country)
  • C_B_John
  • Level 78
  • Legendary Architect
  • March 8, 2013, 5:12 am
well done tuturial dude :)

subscribed you because i like your architecture style!

How to download?
  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 82
  • Elite Terraformer
  • March 8, 2013, 2:43 am
The first build is a building in my project called Altsen upon Brine. The bridge is from Ivittuut, the texture pack can be found in the description. Everything after that isn't downloadable
  • SgtDinosaur
  • Level 2
  • Apprentice Crafter
  • March 7, 2013, 9:52 pm
Definitively Bookmarking this :-)
  • Azuhariet
  • Level 47
  • Master Witch
  • March 7, 2013, 7:58 pm
Very good guide! I haven't seen many guides, but so far your guide hits every subject spot on. Your understanding on shapes and lines is top notch and makes all of your creations stand out and shine above others. I'm glad there is someone like you teaching others about this. Instead of instructing people on exactly what to build, you give them all the basics and allow their own imagination to build something for themselves. Well done.
  • Lightning393
  • Level 15
  • Journeyman Pirate
  • March 7, 2013, 2:32 pm
Finally, someone's made it!
  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 82
  • Elite Terraformer
  • March 7, 2013, 12:04 pm
i can't hear you, someone is shouting xD thanks :)
  • kasper H
  • Level 1
  • New Dragon
  • March 7, 2013, 5:14 am
download link please
  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 82
  • Elite Terraformer
  • March 7, 2013, 5:43 am
The first build is a building in my project called Altsen upon Brine. The bridge is from Ivittuut, the texture pack can be found in the description. Everything after that isn't downloadable
  • kasper H
  • Level 1
  • New Dragon
  • March 7, 2013, 6:07 am
know that, but people will download. (not me but other...)
  • Wet Net Go
  • Level 2
  • Apprentice Explorer
  • March 6, 2013, 5:15 pm
Can't wait to see more of this! :3
There are straight lines in nature. Pyrite cubes and many other crystals naturally form in a linear fashion :P
  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 82
  • Elite Terraformer
  • March 6, 2013, 2:27 pm
I know it is not an impossibility to find straight lines in nature, and i was expecting such a comment. Definatelly true, though i think my statements holds very nicely as a rule of thumb :)

Thanks for bringing it up though, enables me to clarify it without unnecesarelly making the tutorial more confusing as strictly possible :)
Haha of course :P I know exactly what you mean, I just felt like it might be interesting to point out for others. Great start to the series though, I am definitely looking forward to the next episode.
  • batman0405
  • Level 17
  • Journeyman Taco
  • March 6, 2013, 2:14 pm
this is going to help me take some of my none posted creations to the next level
  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 82
  • Elite Terraformer
  • March 6, 2013, 2:29 pm
Glad to be of help :) we'll go into more intricate theories and concepts later on, i'm promissing it'll become a lot more interesting and challenging, so stay tuned :)
  • batman0405
  • Level 17
  • Journeyman Taco
  • March 6, 2013, 2:32 pm
I was wondering if your also going to do a video on interior and exterior
  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 82
  • Elite Terraformer
  • March 6, 2013, 2:48 pm
In the tutorial where i'll adress "space" there'll definatelly be some interior notions. The coming tutorial on textures and colors might be usefull aswell, though i'm not sure if i'll do tutorials on interiors specific, as it's usually very case to case basis what works and doesn't work. Plus, i don't really like building interiors, unless they allow for some very creative interpretation :)
  • batman0405
  • Level 17
  • Journeyman Taco
  • March 7, 2013, 1:25 pm
k, thanks for letting me know
  • Unnatural
  • Level 20
  • Expert Toast
  • March 6, 2013, 1:39 pm
I'm Loving these, approved
  • quitefrank_ly
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 5
  • Apprentice Chef
  • March 6, 2013, 10:37 pm
Inb4 stamp
  • Unnatural
  • Level 20
  • Expert Toast
  • March 7, 2013, 2:34 am
Well, I was just wondering WHERE IS MY STAMP.
  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 82
  • Elite Terraformer
  • March 6, 2013, 1:49 pm
Now that i've been accredited by the one and only UA i feel this series is going to take off :P
I love it! Please do add more, I learned some useful tips!
  • quitefrank_ly
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 5
  • Apprentice Chef
  • March 6, 2013, 11:36 am
Useful, Interesting and fast :P
Nice, really informative, the video was really good as well :D
Haven't gotten to watch all of it, but enjoying what i've seen so far.


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