Articulation in Architecture

Articulation in Architecture

I was thinking about the idea of articulated facades after seeing the following video of highlighting a truly articulated façade. This is really cool to see!

What is the meaning of articulation in architecture?

Here are 4 definitions from industry professionals …

  1. An articulation is a method of styling the joints in the formal elements of architectural design
  2. Articulation refers to the fragmentation of form and surface in order to break large uninteresting or oppressive mass into more human size components. Much of today’s architectural form is brutal and grandiose where architects are attempting to create icons of massive sculptural impact. Computer generated shapes can now be built using transfer technology where machines cut components. This new technology is resulting in brutalism that is concealed by the quality of the sculpture and the high class finishes usually glass and metal. We will see a reaction to this aesthetic soon by the public who are architects best critics. People respond better to articulation for it relates to them in scale and they feel more comfortable when they can move amongst elements rather than be exposed against a backdrop of singular planar surfaces. The compromise will be articulation at the pedestrian level and brutalist sculptural form when viewed from afar.
  3. Breaking up of large, otherwise featureless spaces, masses or volumes.
  4. Articulation can mean a number of things in Architectural terms. For example a rather flat facade could be articulated with the use of indents and shadow. An entrance could be articulated (expressed clearly) by using steps, or gestures of welcome (ie a cover or leading wall), you could articulate a route with color. You might even articulate an idea, say you might articulate the verticals of a building to accentuate its tallness, you might articulate a structure to look like the ribs of an animal (frowned upon these days). I suppose you could use the word articulate to mean ‘to make extant’ or to make something of something. I’m sure I have missed some better examples!

Dictionary Definition:

Articulations (plural noun)

  1. the action of putting into words an idea or feeling of a specified type: “it would involve the articulation of a theory of the just war”
    1. the formation of clear and distinct sounds in speech: “the articulation of vowels and consonants”
    2. music – clarity in the production of successive notes: “beautifully polished articulation from the violins”
    3. phonetics – the act or manner of uttering a speech sound, especially a consonant.
  2. the state of being jointed: “the area of articulation of the lower jaw”

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