Gestalt Theory and Architecture

Like fine art and film, architecture was one of the central focuses of Rudolf Arnheim’s interest in the Gestalt theory of visual arts. Arnheim turned away from concepts which restricted architectural creativity to practical use and economic or social effects, stressing, instead, the need for visual order. From an aesthetic point of view, Arnheim explored the perceptual consequences of architecture in the phenomena of visual symbolism, of order and disorder in design, and of the complex relationship between practical function and perceptual expression. Recent work by Gestalt psychologists has continued to pursue aesthetic order in city architecture, landscaping and the architecture of public and private buildings.