Ornament

In architectural composition, ornament has traditionally been sought in those places where portions of the building change significantly from one part to another, whether it be from wall to roof, wall to ceiling, one structural element to another, i.e. beam to column, or column to ground, and so on (see Colour Plates 9 and 27).

Much of the ornament and articulation of parts established in twentieth-century architecture has been found in the attention to the junctions between prefabricated components, whether they be parts of the structure or of the cladding systems. Consequently, in steel-framed buildings where the structure is exposed, ornament is usually sought in the connections between structural members and between the elements which comprise them (see Colour Plate 19). The careful shaping of the connection plates, stiffening elements, bolting and welding patterns, hubs for diagonal bracing and tie-rod assemblies, have taken on an important role, which is not only structural but also gives expression to the functionality of construction.

Examples where attention to detail can be used to provide ornamentation to an otherwise plain structure are:

• articulated attachment of horizontal and vertical members (Figure 1.2 and Colour Plates 12, 25 and 26)

• supports to arched members (i.e. at foundations) (Figures 1.3 and 1.4)

• suspension and bracing members, including tie rods (Figure 1.5 and Colour Plate 11)

• tie members that counterbalance a long-span portal frame (Figure 1.6)

• connections within trusses (Figure 1.7 and Colour Plate 20)

• fabricated beams or stiffened members (Figure 1.8 and Colour Plate 19)

Nottingham Inland Revenue
1.3 Pavilion at the Millennium Dome, Greenwich, UK (architect: Richard Rogers Partnership)
Mullion Portal Frame Conneciton
1.4 Thames Valley University, pin-jointed connections supporting curved-arched steel members (architect: Richard Rogers Partnership)
Northern Architect
1.6 St Paul's Girls School (architect: FaulknerBrowns)

1.7 Inland Revenue Headquarters, Nottingham, showing truss details which provide interest and articulation (architect: Michael Hopkins and Partners)

Nicholas Grimshaw Truss Architecture

1.8 Operations Centre at Waterloo, London, showing a fabricated cantilever beam supporting a walkway (architect: Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners)

Ron Herron Imagination

1.9 Orange Operational Facility, Darlington (architect: Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners)

Ron Herron Imagination
1.10 Support to fabric roof at the Imagination Building, London (architect: Ron Herron and Partners)

• mullions with multiple perforations (Figure 1.9)

• support to a fabric roof (Figure 1.10 and Colour Plate 19).

Relationships can be established between the individual parts and the overall building form, which have a basis in elementary structural action.

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