Why There’s Beauty in Column, Grid and Row

Repetition is a common compositional technique in structure, be it at the rows of structure, a grid of openings, or even the stacking of a substance. In columns, bricks, windows, or other components, repetition can help to make a rhythm for a building, something that may be connected to natural cycles: the repeated days, our strides, our heartbeats. Repetition also begets order, a significant method of defining one’s place on earth. What follows are some varied spotlights of reproduction in buildings, introduced from the huge scale to the small.

LKM Design

One place where structural reproduction is the most obvious is corridors, where long straightaways meet columns and beams. Here the rhythm is reiterated from the pattern on the floor and the art peeking out between columns.

Studio William Hefner

This hallway includes repeated doors, pendant lights and groin vaults. The latter, which provides the ceiling its own unique shape and permits for semi-circular openings above the doors, also gives the the corridor a gradual, flowing rhythm.

BraytonHughes Design Studios

In this example, repetition takes place in the Y-direction (vertical) as well as the X-direction (horizontal). A grid of openings makes this hallway unique, particularly in the design of lighting it presents.

This multi-family project illustrates reproduction in the scale of the building. A three-story module is repeated, but rather than simply side-by-side, they step back from one another to boost privacy and become individual homes within the bigger project.

Webber + Studio, Architects

This house repeats different components on its three floors, subtly revealing the structure that underlies each. On the ground floor we see garage doors with scuppers marking the columns between; above is a set-back glazed wall with uplights about the steel mullions; on top is a trellis whose cantilevered structure follows the same grid.

Greifenstein Boyce Associates

Exterior components need not follow a modernist grid. Here, three dormers poke up above the entry as if to accentuate the house’s main portal. This opinion makes the dormers highly abstract, like three triangles sticking upward from the roof.


In this example repeat follows the app, a homeless shelter in Milan, Italy. The studio units feature a repeated module of a door near a enclosed heater/sink/window seat.

Amitzi Architects

Windows are most likely the most-repeated components (minus materials like bricks) in residential architecture. Contemporary design eschewed the grid of openings located in most conventional dwellings, but copying may nevertheless be found in places like these three rows of stacked windows.

Amitzi Architects

Inside, these three windows define one wall of a kitchen/dining area. What outside was a part of a bigger wall comprises the majority of this distance. The windows are just like a wall decoration in their own right.

Frederick + Frederick Architects

This long porch benefits from the structural repeat on the correct and the windows on the left. Each helps break down the distance, and also the structural bays help define smaller regions for seating.

Giulietti Schouten Architects

Repetition is not limited to architectural components; landscape may of course play a part. In this case, tall grasses in square metal planters march down the side of a house. The green softens the gray of the corrugated panels and concrete.

Colors Of Green Landscape Architecture

These red succulents follow the rhythm of the fence posts, such that the horizontal wood planks become a background for those plants.

Carson Poetzl, Inc..

This pool area features stone pavers repeated in a grid. Pavers set amongst grass may be a common technique, but it is a great one for your strong graphic it generates and the clear message that the surface is for walking .

Laidlaw Schultz architects

And let’s not forget water, an architectural element of the most ephemeral. Here we find three easy fountains at a travertine wall; the water’s decreasing arc is equally as important as the trough… if not more.

Huettl Landscape Architecture

A natural extension of the previous photo is to conceal the origin of the water fountain. Yes, repeat is located from the three streams of water, but when the fountain is off the repeat and rhythm (visual and auditory) is still gone. Ephemeral, indeed.

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