In recent years a computational variation of the “box-counting method” has been developed that can produce objective and quantitative determinations of the visual complexity of buildings. Ongoing research to test the validity of this computational method has produced more than 30 sets of consistent data representing the work of several historically significant architects including Eileen Gray, Le Corbusier, Kazuyo Sejima and Peter Eisenman. These results suggest that the box-counting method is potentially significant and that its computational variation merits further testing and exploration. Past research using this method has typically focused on sets of works, produced as part of a consistent stylistic period in an architect’s career. This research typically showed significant clustering of the characteristic complexity, or fractal dimension, of various architect’s designs. If this is true, then the method may be useful for differentiating particular stylistic periods in an architect’s career. In order to test this possibility, the present paper undertakes a comparison between the visual complexity of five of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Triangle-Plan Usonian houses and five of Wright’s Prairie houses. Through this comparison of the fractal dimensions of both the elevations and plans of these ten buildings it may be possible to quantify the formal differences between these two periods in the architect’s oeuvre.
|Keywords:||Computational Analysis, Design Tools, Frank Lloyd Wright, Visual Complexity|
Research Assistant, School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Dean, School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia
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