Document Type


Date of Award

Summer 8-31-1989

Degree Name

Master of Science in Architectural Studies - (M.S.A.S.)


School of Architecture

First Advisor

David L. Hawk

Second Advisor

Bharat Madhusudan Gami

Third Advisor

Virgilio Gonzales


Entrance as an element of architecture has had an important role in the design process from the very beginning of the architecture. Its role varies according to culture and the belief of people. The characteristics of entrances are as diversified as are architectural style and historic periods.

Architectural styles continue to change. New forms and technologies add to the growth of styles. All these contribute to the eclectic of design ideas. The specifics of an entrance can arise from, be complementary to or in contradiction of a style. They always serve as a mediator between interior and exterior spaces. The entrance can be meaningfully related to a building's design or it may be an abstraction about a new style, or it may reference an earlier architectural style.

The purpose of this study is to provide architects with a means to evaluate and analyze entrances for particular designs. Entrance can serve as a standard for the entire building, a beginning to integrate meaning with use in building elements.

The study intends to demonstrate how entrances best function as a combination of aspects of history, architecture, and psychology. An entrance functions on many levels at once. A skilled architect needs to be aware of the complexity of the entrance resulting from its meaning meeting its function. For example, a high arched entrance may serve to enhance the experience of entering the building while at the same time provide a large public entry space. At a sociocultural level it can also make a statement about history either by reiterating a previous historical style, or, just as significantly, denying all prior historic models.

This study begins by tracing the role of entry through periods of history in different cultures. The entries of the present time are organized under building type categories. Illustrations will be offered of each period along with an explanation of each. In addition to precedent and building types, entries can be explained through shape, form, size, color, and texture. The analysis of aesthetic criteria can then be clarified. Examples of entrances with this type of categorized will be offered. The relationship of users to meaning of entry will be examined. This includes aspects of form, usage, and decoration as they effect users.

Combining these provides a means of categorizing entry under different cultures and background. The important transition between interior and exterior space may be accentuated quite differently in different parts of the world. In the orient, it is common to remove one's shoes upon entering an interior space. It is important to respect the entry as the moment of transition, the interior space is protected from "contamination" by the outside world. In the west, entry can have meanings of similar significance, although of very different orientations, or it can simply be a hole in a wall.

The appreciation of the value of entries is important. Designers should organize them to make people aware of the values in functional and aesthetic domains. Then the sense of place can be created and supported. Many criteria effect the design of entrance, and it is hard to predict the meaning that users will assign or comprehend, but we must do better in knowing the outcome of the design and how it will satisfied the people who use it. This study is to help the ideas of purposeful design of building elements and architecture.

Included in

Architecture Commons



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