Parti Pris - Architecture

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The phrase “parti pris” (also known as "esquisse" or "maquette") is the basic scheme or concept for an architectural design from which an architectural project will be developed. It is the functional arrangement and underlying organisational idea of a building’s plan or its elevation. The phrase is often referred to as the “big idea” and is the chief organizing thought or decision behind an architect's design presented in the form of a basic diagram and / or a simple statement. A parti pris can be expressed in several ways but it is most often expressed by a diagram depicting the general floor-plan organization of a building and, by implication, its experiential and aesthetic outlook. A “parti diagram” shows a concept in its simplest form. Parti diagrams convey topology, shape, size, position, and direction. It focuses on the key structural and relational features of an idea, and should be a synthetic approximation and simplification of formal intent for the entire site or building design.

The word Parti or Parti pris comes from the French Prendre parti which means to make a decision. Partis were utilized in the beaux-arts neoclassical style period. Great architects who studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts were exposed in architectural theory and practice to the Ecole concepts of parti, dessin, and types, general laws imparted by Ecole des Beaux-Arts teaching. They were taught the act of personally choosing architectural patterns from model buildings, that is, of identifying and extracting parti, dessin, typological, architectonic, or organic patterns. The layering of those patterns to create new architectural designs was of course an eclectic practice. Importance

In the early design process, designers draw diagrams and sketches (partis) to explore ideas and solutions. As an instrument of thought, sketches, diagrams and drawings have an eminent influence not only on the early phases of the architect’s working process, but...
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