Regular repetition and modular patterns in architecture

Elena Arnedo CALVO *1

*1 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid


Throughout history, from antiquity to the present day, we can find several building examples based on repetition (such as: basilicas, palaces and roman buildings, Kasbah cities, arab mosques, christian churches, shipyards etc.) but it is from the middle of SXIX early SXX century, with technological advances and new material discoveries and their constructive possibilities, when repetition can be considered as a conscious project methodology. Its industrialization, spirit and universal sense made the modern movement revolution possible.

The challenge of this architectural project lies in the search for formal, pragmatic and experimental strategies, that in an artificial way, can adapt to the reality of constantly changing external conditions, to allow time to intervene as a last designer.

The morphological patterns focused on this paper are based on the regular repetition a structural or functional module, which by its own formal and constructive features allows the establishment of domestic laws and strict growth, which gives the whole system condition. it should be noted, that it is not always the module that generates the grid, but sometimes other factors come into play, such as conformational standards, functional requirements or spatial hierarchy, i.e. the system, which sets the order and the manner by which it governs the pattern. This is the only reason for the module, and so in these cases, the module autonomy and its visual recognition disappear entirely, fading in the continuity and sequence pattern.

This initial analysis helps to make a first classification:  simple repetition system, based on a regular module repetition to generate the grid; or complex repetition system, based on a pattern which is the only reason for the module. This differentiation will be investigated in this paper, studying its evolution and modeling, through analysis of architecture that is deemed most representative.