Visual perception and the choice of systemised building façades

Poorang Piroozfar, Eric R.P. Farr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Along with a series of potential benefits prefabricated building systems can offer, for instance in cost control of a project, there are also some restrictions that, if not understood properly and adopted accordingly, may have some implications on design, construction and post-occupancy stages. Aslimited as any system is in replicating complex forms, they may still be utilised depending on manyother factors. Briefly drawing upon substantial theories of perception such as Gestalt, this paper investigates how visual perception will determine the resemblance of a systemised façade to the building envelope it represents, at relevant sensory thresholds. An approach has been developed based on a normal, healthy, naked eye's ability to recognise objects. It will be shown that regardless of a system's flexibility, the minimum distance a façade is perceived at has substantial effect on offering that resemblance. It will also be shown that at different distances, depending on the size, anobject cannot be recognised hence a systemised façade may be identically perceived as itsgenerating facade. Finally it concludes with a practical method, nurtured by visual perception, toimprove cost control and to assist the decision making process when a systemised façade is to bechosen for a building.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-81
Number of pages17
JournalArchitectural Engineering and Design Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2013


  • building envelopes
  • decision making
  • gestalt
  • prefabrication
  • systemised façades
  • visual perception


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