Tectonic vs stereotomic

Published by Basilio on

In architecture, there are different approaches to the design and construction of structures. Two of them are the tectonic and stereotomic approaches. In this article, we will explore the differences and similarities between these two architectural approaches. We will analyze their characteristics, applications and how they influence the aesthetics and functionality of buildings.

Tectonic Approach


The tectonic approach focuses on the relationship between the constructive and structural elements of a building. It is based on the idea that construction should be honest and clearly express the way materials are joined and supported. The tectonic approach is concerned with showing the connection and relationship between building elements, whether through the articulation of joints, the exposure of structures or the use of expressive materials. This approach is often associated with contemporary architecture and minimalist aesthetics.

Stereotomic Approach


The stereotomic approach, on the other hand, focuses on the manipulation and composition of massive construction elements, such as concrete, stone or brick. This approach seeks to create shapes and spaces through carving, cutting and assembling these materials. The stereotomic approach is concerned with the three-dimensional expression and texture of building elements, and is often associated with historic architecture and detailed craftsmanship.

Differences and Similarities

The main differences between the tectonic and stereotomic approaches lie in their emphasis and methods. While the tectonic approach focuses on the connection and relationship between construction elements, the stereotomic approach focuses on the carving and manipulation of massive elements. However, both approaches seek expressive and carefully crafted architecture.

Despite these differences, there are also similarities between the tectonic and stereotomic approaches. Both approaches value construction quality and the relationship between the materials used. Both can also focus on the integration of modern technologies and structural systems to achieve innovative results. Furthermore, both the tectonic and stereotomic approaches can generate architecture that is aesthetically attractive and functional.

Applications and Examples

The tectonic approach can be found in contemporary buildings where structural systems and connections are displayed and become design elements. A notable example is the Pompidou Center in Paris, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. On the other hand, the stereotomic approach is found in historic structures where massive elements, such as carved stone, are fundamental to the aesthetics and construction. The Parthenon in Athens, Greece, is an iconic example of stereotomic architecture.

Tectonic and stereotomic approaches offer different perspectives on architecture, focusing on the relationship between construction elements or the manipulation of massive elements, respectively. Both approaches have notable applications and examples in history and contemporary times, and play a crucial role in the aesthetics and functionality of buildings. The choice of an approach depends on the context, objectives and vision of the architect.

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Categories: Architecture


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