The Romance of Architecture: Design Elements That Keep Us Coming Back
At Amity Kett, our Texas-based architects and interior designers believe that the romance of architecture lies in the details. For us, the beauty of a project comes through with the simple decorative features that deliver aesthetic appeal and show off feats of impressive engineering. A detailed design, however, does more than simply please the eye. Thoughtful design elements serve to create a higher quality of life and function within the home, bring joy, and convey a sense of quality and craftsmanship that one can trust. The details give architecture its romantic soul. We are reviewing our favorite architectural design elements that our clients and architects come back to again and again.
What Makes Architecture Romantic?
Like any great romance, architecture has many facets. There is a practical side that serves to meet functional needs and provide a cohesive living space for a family. In good design, this practicality is in a continuous dance with dramatics, such as detailing and elements that purely serve to impress and inspire. Together, these components work to create spaces that not only function but create an experience. Modern architecture also often draws inspiration from the past, either adapting design principles from previous styles or reimagining them to blend with current needs and trends. When our architects design projects we combine elements of the new and the old and the practical and the dramatic, and we always come back to a few of our favorite staple design elements.
Dramatic Feats of Engineering
Dramatic feats of engineering are a way to show off what is possible to build, despite the elements and forces that attempt to dictate otherwise. Dramatic engineered features can appear both outside and inside the home.
Cantilevered Exterior Features
Cantilevered features are structural elements that extend horizontally and are only supported at one end, creating a dramatic effect where the structure appears to be weightless despite its size. This could be an extended roofline or a full room of the home. Features like these are ultramodern and can be utilized to offer shade and preserve uninterrupted sightlines for a seamless blend of spaces.
Climactic Interior Stairs
In multilevel homes, staircases often serve as one of the first features a guest sees when they enter. Creating a climactic staircase not only provides a simple means of navigating the home but sets the stage and invitation for exploration. An interior staircase can become an art form by utilizing unique designs and materials.
Creating an indoor-outdoor connection is about employing the principle of harmony between the home and the landscape, and there are a few key design elements that help unlock this desirable trend which is highly popular in good climates.
Expanses of Glass
Expanses of glass are a beautiful design element that allows the line between inside and outside to blur and create a connection between the spaces. There are many options to consider ranging from ultra-modern to traditional. For example, large panels of seamless glass free of muntins will create a clean and modern effect, as would accordion sliding doors that open freely to the outside and eliminate any noticeable transition. A more traditional approach could include a bay window or charming sunroom.
Edgeless pools also help to unite the home space to the landscape. With an infinity edge, the eye is invited to extend beyond the poolscape and easily transition to the landscape the home overlooks. This is especially effective if your home faces the ocean or a body of water! Pools also serve as a clear invitation to enjoy outdoor living.
Enduring Historical Charms
While some design elements get attention for the lifestyle they offer or the impressive feats of design and technology they convey, other favorites endure simply because of their historical charm. In the earliest formulations of our dream homes, we often picture the fantastical grandeur of a castle from a fairytale or the quaint window boxes on the home in our favorite sitcom.
Thatched roofs offer the simple and rustic charm of the European countryside. Topping the roofs of cottages, this unique material adds texture, offers insulation, and is actually a sustainable material option. It’s low environmental impact and historic charm have sparked a renewed interest in the classic material.
Dutch doors have been around since the 17th century and are characterized by their split divide that allows the top half to be opened for air circulation while the bottom remains closed. This was originally designed to keep animals out of Dutch farmhouses while still allowing airflow in. The trend was brought to America and still remains a sought after feature.
Window boxes started as a practical means for ancient civilizations living in small spaces to grow their own food, but have since become associated with charm and beauty. Gaining popularity in the Victorian era, window boxes were used for decorative plants and herbs. Today, they are used in both urban and suburban projects to bring an added element of beauty to the home’s exterior or patio spaces.
Spiral staircases not only offer unique charm but they also save space. This uncommon feature is perfect for a secondary staircase inside or outside the home and can become a sculptural element and focal point to design around. There is also something novel and fun about using one.
The Importance of Romantic Architectural Elements
There is a need for architects to create not only practical residences but to create thoughtful designs for society to enjoy. While practical function is a key component, the beauty of architecture is applying the history of the trade and capturing people’s imaginations. Dramatic details sneak back into our design plans again and again, and we’d like to keep it that way.
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