Axis (architecture)

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Axially constructed floor plan ( La Rotonda )
Urban monumental axis ( St. Peter's Square in Rome )
The Petit Trianon is structured by five window axes

In architecture , town planning and landscape architecture , an axis is an imaginary straight line that can be drawn through an ensemble of buildings , a structure , a component or space-defining green structures and bodies of water and is used as a design and organization tool.

A vertical axis, for example, divides the view of a building and its facade into two halves.

The horizontal axis refers to axes that can be seen in the floor plan , for example the longitudinal axis and transverse axis of a church .

If an object is divided symmetrically , one speaks of an axis of symmetry .

The term window axis describes the number of vertically structured window openings in a building.

In the planimetric description of developments, one speaks of axes (adj. Axial) or, in the case of a change of direction, of articulated axes (adj. Articulated).

Urban planning

In urban planning , a distinction can be made between structural axes and shape axes .

Structural axes serve primarily to arrange building plots in the city and thereby determine the urban structure (e.g. Cardo and Decumanus in the Roman city or the Hippodamian system in ancient Greece); they do not necessarily have to be straight (see the band city idea or the Eixo Rodoviário in Brasília ).

Shape axes are part of the urban space and often have a special architectural design that can refer to the street walls (e.g. the Grand Rue in Richelieu ) or to the endpoints of the axis, the points de vue . Here one also speaks of visual axes that direct the view to important buildings or elements that shape the landscape , whereby the visual axis does not have to be an axis of movement at the same time (due to crossing watercourses or larger differences in altitude, e.g. at the castle and mountain park in Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe ).

A special form of the shape axis is the monumental axis , i. H. wide urban boulevards, on which important commercial, cultural and / or political-administrative institutions line up and which approach an imposing building or monument. It is often an expression of a particular claim to political power.

Examples of monumental axes:

In urban planning in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, shape axes were often incorporated into existing urban structures. These urban development aisles were mostly used to restructure traffic routes and modernize the building fabric; both direct consequences of industrialization and the associated increase in the importance of the land and housing market . Examples of this are the transformation of Paris under Haussmann (e.g. Avenue de l'Opéra ), but also relatively smaller street openings such as Kaiser-Wilhelm-Straße in Berlin (today Karl-Liebknecht-Straße ) or Pařížská (Pariser Straße) in Prague .


  • Karsten Ley: space, time, function. The dimensions of the axis in urban planning . FdR, Aachen, 2005, ISBN 3-936971-08-0 .
  • Wilhelm Rave: The axis in architecture . TH Berlin (diss.), 1929.
  • Clemens Steenbergen, Wouter Reh: Architecture and Landscape. The Design Experiment of the Great European Gardens and Landscapes . Prestel, Munich / New York 1996, ISBN 3-7643-0335-2 .

Individual evidence

  1. cf. Hans Koepf , Günther Binding : Pictorial dictionary of architecture: With English, French, Italian and Spanish technical glossaries . Kröner, 2005, ISBN 3-520-19404-X .
  2. cf. Karsten Ley: space, time, function. The dimensions of the axis in urban planning . FdR, Aachen, 2005, ISBN 3-936971-08-0 .