Pronunciation /ʃeɪp/

noun verb
The external form, contours, or outline of something. Give a particular shape or form to.

Shapes appear everywhere, every living thing or man made object has shape. When drawing and designing we create a shape in two dimensions; length and width. We add value to create depth, highlights and shadows making it look more three dimensional.

However it’s not until shape and form meet, which we discussed last time, that we really create something tangible. Shape is in itself a 2 dimensional object, the 3rd dimension is created by form. That is because form is defined by including a third dimension, depth, to the two flat plains (length and width).

Shape refers to the configuration of its edges and surfaces, this can be applied to two or three dimensional objects. Slightly conflicting the above this is because we perceive shape by its contours or silhouette rather than by detail.

Primary shapes; circles, triangles and squares are used to generate volumes known as “platonic solids”. (A Platonic solid is any of the five geometric solids whose faces are all identical, regular polygons meeting at the same three-dimensional angles. Also known as the five regular polyhedra, they consist of the tetrahedron (or pyramid), cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron.) Combinations of these platonic solids establish the basis for most architectural shapes and forms. Recent advances in 3D technology have promoted the design and representation of more complex, non-platonic forms.

Volumetric shapes contain both exteriors and interiors, or solids and voids. Some shapes are formed through an additive process where a supplementary shape is incorporated into the base shape, while other shapes are conceptually subtracted from other solids.

Shape preferences may be based your upbringing, culturally based, personal memories, natural forms or convention. For example a tall spire would connote religious architecture in Australia, whilst curved building or roofs may insight feelings of coastal areas and the movement of waves. Large dominating buildings would often be seen as uninspiring, however like those located throughout Melbourne there can be a lot of shape added to even the plainest buildings.