This essay begins with a reflection on what has been taught in architectural design since the turn of the twentieth century. I shall trace back to the two disciplinary foundations of the French École des Beaux-Arts — parti and poché — in the education of an architect in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I shall then attempt to superimpose parti and poché on a modern disciplinary framework, say that of mathematics, which leads to musings on a series of architectural problems that include pattern versus type, stability versus mobility, orthogonal versus oblique, confinement versus transparency, and aging versus metallic sheen. These paradoxes, I suggest, demand the education of an architect to address both the instrumental pattern of a building configuration and the ambient felt qualities of a room, rather than vision alone.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Harbeson J. The Study of Architectural Design: With Special Reference to the Program of the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design. New York: Pencil Points Press, 1927
Chafee S R. “The Teaching of Architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts”, and David Van Zanten, “Architectural Composition at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from Charles Percier to Charles Garnier”, Arthur Drexler ed. The Architecture of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1977
Evans R. ’Figures, Doors and Passages’ in Translations from Drawings to Building and Other Essays. London: MIT Press, 1997, 54–91
Tuan Y F. Segmented Worlds and Self: Group Life and Individual Consciousness. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982
Leach E. Rethinking Anthropology. London: the Athlone Press, University of London, 1961
Lin Y T. The Importance of Living. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1946, 3–4
Tuan Y F. Topophilia: A Study of Environmental Perception, Attitudes, and Values. New York: Columbia University Press, 1974, 11
Bachelard G. The Poetics of Space, trans by Maria Jolas, foreword by Etienne Gilson. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969, 6–7; originally published as La Poétique de l’espace. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1958
de Montaigne M. Trans Screech MA. The Complete Essays, London: Penguin, 2003, 1263
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Ruan, X. What can be taught in architectural design? — parti, poché, and felt qualities. Front. Archit. Civ. Eng. China 4, 450–455 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11709-010-0098-y
- architectural design
- parti and poché