Diagramming aesthetics: Modernism and architecture in the 21st century Conference Paper uri icon


  • In architectural design, diagramming has an equally important role in functional studies and in aesthetic studies. Diagrams are used to create and explore alternative schemes at the very early stages. They are also used to explain concepts once a project is completed. Learning to diagram is an important part of architectural education. A particular diagramming vocabulary can help to guide students into an appreciation and consciousness of aesthetics. As an introduction to theories of modernism, students have been instructed in the use of a set of diagrams that express abstract qualities of architectural aesthetics. The exercises are designed to wean students from a nave aesthetic that merely mimics popular taste and introduce them to the field of aesthetics as an intellectual discipline. The diagramming vocabulary has been developed from the seven invariables, described by Bruno Zevi in The Modern Language of Architecture. Students apply the diagrams to analyze examples of famous buildings. They then design a house, applying the aesthetic principles expressed by the diagrams. The resulting designs are compared to previous designs produced by the students to reveal the change that is due in part to learning the diagramming vocabulary.

name of conference

  • Theory and Application of Diagrams

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Clayton, M. J.

editor list (cited editors)

  • Anderson, M., Cheng, P., & Haarslev, V.

publication date

  • January 1, 2000 11:11 AM