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Architect's Toolbox: Strike a Balance With Symmetry

Stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself. Now draw an imaginary line down the middle of your torso and face. Chances are good that your right and left sides match and that you’re symmetrically composed. Not too symmetrically written, mind you — there will be a small variation from side to side. Small gaps include interest and keep things from being too static.

In brief, is symmetry: each facet across the center line fitting its opposite side, bringing balance to the entire. This is extremely different from asymmetry, where each side looks to balance the other hand with gaps. We’ll leave the dialogue for asymmetry for a different day. For the time being, let us look at symmetry and the way that may be used in the design of the homes.

Witt Construction

Symmetry gives stature and significance. From the hipped roof and chimneys to the dormers and window positioning, everything about this design makes us focus on the middle, or center line. By drawing our attention to the center and then up to the Palladian window, front of this house looks prominent, elegant and, yes, inactive.

Richard Manion Architecture Inc..

Symmetry is restful and relaxed. There aren’t any shifting planes and overlapping volumes which cause our eyes to leap round, never settling in 1 spot. Instead, our gaze is allowed to relax, rest and find repose.

Lori Smyth Design

Symmetry extends into the landscape. Don’t stop at the house walls; bring symmetry to the backyard and plantings too. Use potted plants as dots. Hedges that buff out create a foreground; pencillike trees frame the entrance sequence. A crushed stone path, our center line, leads to the front door as reinforcement of their symmetrical massing and window layout.

TRG Architects

Symmetry knows no stylistic prejudice. Whether or modern, symmetry is a trustworthy remedy to create balance, particularly when you need a processional quality. Keep the cubic amounts and floating planes: simply arrange them in stasis as well as a center line.


Bring the symmetry inside. All that silent and tasteful equilibrium on the outside should find its way into the home. So keep the procession together with the architecture in addition to the accessories and furniture. Keep it all going and set something important and beautiful at the end.

Crisp Architects

Create a frame to reinforce symmetry. Establishing a foreground and producing a frame through which the space is viewed can reinforce the overall symmetrical layout of the room. The frame also has the benefit of developing a layering of distance, another part of the architect’s toolbox.

David Duncan Livingston

Emphasize symmetry using a motif. Employing an architectural motif, like an arch, can reinforce the symmetry and equilibrium needed. In many ways, this is a”painterly” approach, as it heals vertical surfaces (walls) as a canvas onto which the components are applied.

Use symmetry in most instructions. Start using a foreground and the two- dimensional picture, then extend the distance outside in a balanced manner. Use symmetry to create depth and the illusion of vast spaciousness, like in a Pirenasi sketch.

Schwartz and Architecture

Place furniture so it enriches the center line. The full impact of lace comes through when the furniture follows the architecture. When it’s a bed, sofa, table or other piece, placing the furniture across the center line of the room produces a robust and established focus.

Symmetry goes in the bathroom. From the ceiling to the windows to the vanities, tub and accessories, a bathroom that’s symmetrically laid out reinforces the notion of his-and-hers places. Placing the bathtub in the center underscores this symmetry and produces a spot where both equal halves join together.

Lisa Adams, LA Closet Design

Use symmetry even in private spaces. A walk-in cupboard, pantry or other low-traffic area in your home can benefit from the equilibrium made by a symmetrical layout. Does this approach create distinct halves which are independently used, but in addition, it conveys a feeling of careful consideration and design.

Aleck Wilson Architects

Use symmetry to enlarge small spaces. Don’t stop the symmetry at the exterior or in bigger rooms. Because a symmetrical layout is static and fixed, it may make even the tiniest of spaces feel bigger. Arranging the shelving and cabinetry in a symmetrical manner may give a little desk area presence and gravitas.

More Architect’s Toolbox:
Scale and Proportion

Beautifully Layered Spaces

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