The Parti

Hayward and De Breyne Building, Keble College Oxford: Ahrends, Burton, Koralek

“The Parti or Parti Pris comes from the French: prendre parti,  meaning “to make a decision”.  Often referred to as the big idea, it is the chief organizing thought or decision behind an architect’s design presented in the form of a basic diagram and/or a simple statement.”  Ching, “A Visual Dictionary of Architecture”

So the Parti reveals the underlying strategic organisation; in the case of the Hayward and De Breyne building, an inhabited fortress wall to the street, and fully glazed bedrooms sheltering a cloister to define a series of courtyards (quads).

The Parti is often expressed as a simple plan diagram, although in many projects the underlying organisational idea is more easily captured in section, but critical to either is the abstraction in the diagram: filtering out the visual appearance to focus on the organisation.

So thinking about the Parti BEFORE you have a design is a helpful exercise, allowing you to explore how the critical (conceptual) relationships in a project can be reflected in underlying organisation of spaces, circulation, and activity, before you know what the building is really like…so have a go!

Please follow the link below to the presentation discussed in the studio:

Unit G_Parti