Text-based analysis: This type of analysis would be derived mainly from text-based research
that examines a particular façade within its physical, cultural, political and art historical
context. The focus of your analysis is your choice. For example, you may wish to discuss
the specific technical issues that underlie the formal expression of the building, or you may
wish to focus on the typological aspects.
You should supplement your text with images of your selected façade and any other supporting documentation including, but not limited to, plans, sections,
elevations and photographs where appropriate. You may also include diagrams and original
drawings of your own. You should use original sources for your research (beware of web-based
sources) and you must cite all of your sources using appropriate footnote or endnote form. Include
a complete bibliography of all sources.
In considering your building choice, bear in mind that the central question will be “what makes this
building significant and the facade worthy of analysis?” Once you have made your selection, gather
supporting data from a variety of sources including (where possible) critical reviews of the building.
Before beginning to write, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the building and
architect in general and the façade in particular.
In structuring the paper, consider first what the focus will be and how you intend to support this. The
choice of where you wish to place your emphasis is yours. It may be on the formal/ spatial
properties, the relationship to its historical context, its technical innovations or its symbolic program.
Wherever you chose to focus your analysis, you must back this up with appropriate documentation.
The paper should lay out the analysis in a clear and concise fashion that begins by placing the
building within its temporal and physical context and ends with the particular insights you have
gained from your study of it.
Some questions to consider as you develop your written description and analysis:
1. What is the significance of this work within the period in which it was built?
2. What is the significance of this work within the context of the architect’s work?
3. How does the façade serve as a carrier of particular meanings?
4. What is the significance of those meanings?
5. What is the polemic of this façade?
6. Why is it worthy of study?
7. Is the façade significant in formal terms?
8. Is the façade significant in stylistic terms?
9. Is the façade significant in tectonic terms?
10. Is the façade significant in urban/spatial terms?
11. What other facades are like this one and are there precedents for it?
12. Did the façade carry a political or social agenda in its making?
13. Is the façade seen as confirming or challenging the received conventions of its time?
other things could be mentioned:
1. What are the basic characteristics of the façade – proportionally, organizationally, and
2. What is the relationship of the façade to the building behind – volumetrically,
organizationally, and structurally?
3. How is structure expressed in both an implicit and explicit manner?
4. What are the constituent elements of the façade? How might these be understood as
creating a system?
5. What are the frontal limits of the façade to the building behind, i.e. how deep is the façade
and what is the extent of its influences?
6. How is layering, either superimposed or interwoven, expressed?
7. What are the references or motives (as in ‘motif’)? In what ways are its elements or overall
effects established or identified?
8. To what extent is the façade a function of a) internal pressures, b) external pressures and c)
9. Does the façade make reference to the idea of a compositional type?
10. Can you find other facades that are organizationally and conceptually similar? Also, can you
find one that is the antithesis?
11. Is there more than one façade (e.g. facades within facades)?
12. How is the entrance(s) affected and what is the significance of this compositionally and in
terms of the building’s organization?
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