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Precedent Study Guide

What’s a precedent study?

In response to the merriam webster dictionary a ‘precedent‘ may be outlined as “one thing executed or stated which will serve for example or rule to authorize or justify a subsequent act of the identical or an identical type”, and a ‘study’ as “a state of contemplation

So when defining the time period ‘precedent examine’, it may be classed because the sourcing and contemplation, of associated and relative, previous and current influences, that goal to serve and supply inspiration and assist with the justification of an thought.

These examples typically come within the type of visible aides, and kind important components of a tasks basis and general idea, with many tasks discovering their beginning factors from one singular precedent.

How are precedent studies used?

precedent study

Precedent research kind the spine of a tasks creation and stay simply as related at its inception as they do throughout its development, aiding with:


From searching for preliminary design inspiration, by to sourcing the proper materials finishes, precedent research present a superb useful resource and visible library of thought scary media.

Design idea technology

Finding out previous and current examples of labor in and across the arts and architecture, helps to develop an understanding of the thought course of that result in a tasks creation and its underlining driving drive, ’the design concept’.

Generally immediately, however most definitely not directly, this may encourage and open up different strains of pondering in direction of your personal concept development, including depth and justification to your design course of.


It doesn’t matter what stage you’re in your studying, or what degree of inventive thinker you, all of us want justification that our concepts and approaches will in the end work and achieve success. That is significantly necessary for architecture,precedent study the place not solely should or not it’s bodily attainable to construct, it in most situations should additionally outlast its creators.

Discovering examples of comparable design and development approaches, supplies us as designers with a level of confidence in understanding that we’re pursuing the proper path.

Clarification and Communication

gray structure

Precedent research can be utilized to elucidate and talk the imaginative and prescient of venture, from how a building for instance would possibly home its occupants, by to materials selections and its completed look.

Friends, tutors, and shoppers believe in what they’ll perceive, and if you happen to can present examples of what already exists, then it turns into far harder to misread the designers imaginative and prescient.

Learn how to find precedents

As listed beneath within the assets part, there are a number of key locations to seek out good precedents, nevertheless in the end its simply analysis, and related precedents can and can come from wherever, and can at all times be bespoke to a selected venture. They’re not often carried over from one to a different.

For architecture particularly, you need to concentrate on breaking the venture and temporary down into segments and create sub classes in your analysis. This fashion every class will affect the precedent study subsequent and assist to kind an general imaginative and prescient.

Looking for singular precedents that cowl all the pieces is very unlikely, and can solely result in frustration.

These classes might embrace:

  • Building use
  • Building occupants
  • Type of website
  • Building location
  • Building plan
  • Building elevation
  • Building section
  • Building typography
  • Building type
  • Building size
  • Materials
  • Sustainable strategies
  • Construction strategies

What to look for…

Similar to the above you need to goal to gather items of the larger image, which for instance can embrace:

  • Illustration and presentation types and strategies
  • Architectural mannequin types and finishes
  • Architectural diagrams
  • Form and massing
  • How a building interacts with gentle and shadow
  • Window opening
  • Entrances
  • Interior finishes
  • External finishes
  • Furniture
  • External finishes
  • Landscape
  • Planting

Learn how to assess and analysis your precedent studies

The path by which you evaluation your precedent research shall be dependant on the character of the precedent study precedent examine, for instance is it addressing the general design idea, or is it a examine into how entry and circulation may be instigated and designed?

Under are a number of key areas to have a look at:

Materiality – take a look at examples of how the building finishes work with one and one other and their surrounding context, what influenced the architects selections, how do completely different supplies meet and work together with one another, how are junctions detailed?

Details – Materiality merges with and performs a big position in how a building is detailed, however apart from this you need to use your precedents to affect how connections between constructions and the location are made. Take a look at how openings are fashioned, and the way wall, ground and roof junctions meet one another, how a staircase connects two flooring, and the way it interacts with them, and the way window cills are fashioned and so forth. This may be investigated on each a macro and micro degree.

Structure – Structural methods for the muse (actually) of a buildings design, and so examine how your precedents are supported and span over their open plan areas, how columns and beams are sized, and is the structure uncovered or hidden.

Scale and volume – Put merely a building should match, and so a scale and quantity precedent examine would take a look at how buildings and websites of an analogous dimension to your proposal work together with their surrounding atmosphere. Are they profitable, are they overbearing and if that’s the case why, and the way may you keep away from this? In the event that they work properly, then how do they obtain this? what are you able to be taught?

Access and circulation – There are a lot of methods to deal with entry and so examine the variations of how buildings entice their inhabitants, how do folks know the place the doorway is? and the way do they know the place go as soon as inside?

Light shadow – gentle and shadow play an especially necessary position in how a building is skilled, and so take a look at how every of those are addressed; how has the architect introduced gentle into the building? How are components accentuated? and what does this really feel like?

Concept development – A precedent examine can typically result in and affect idea growth. Research the basics of how your precedents the place fashioned and the place they began, how had been the volumes and areas created, what influenced design selections, and what was the driving drive behind the venture?

Proportions – Architecture is constructed upon proportion and sometimes a buildings success is dependant on it. So study how volumes and types work together and sit subsequent to one another, how giant and small openings sit inside an elevation, how ground ranges affect a buildings top and the proportions of its openings, how completely different supplies break up massing.

Atmosphere – It may be significantly troublesome to speak environment and emotion by a sketch or 3D model, and so utilizing examples to display this turns into essential.

…These are after all just some examples of how this may be approached, and in actuality every examine is bespoke to a selected venture and temporary, and so ought to be tailor-made accordingly.

Create your own precedent library

precedent study

Amassing data and inspiration, has by no means been simpler, gone are the times of scanning journal and journal pages and gathering an enormous portions of again points. Significantly with Pinterest, it has by no means been simpler to gather and construct your personal non-public libraries of assets and precedents.

In truth there’s not a instrument extra excellent for it than the platform Pinterest supplies; from a number of board and class creation, by to shared boards and group conversations, for architecture particularly Pinterest supplies an especially huge useful resource.

For an instance of how this may be organised, go to our web page, and for information on methods to use it

Thats to not say nevertheless that that is the one technique of building your personal library, literature nonetheless sits firmly on the high of the record, and a non-public assortment of books that includes your favorite architects and architecture, is a useful useful resource to have, that ought to be slowly constructed over time.

The underlying message right here is to gather and hold all the pieces, dont throw previous precedents away …add them to your library for whenever you subsequent want them.

Useful resources

  • Pinterest
  • Literature
  • Blogs
  • Exhibitions
  • Journals