Let us try grouping the windows a little, and at the same time breaking up the flat surface of the front wall (Fig. 12). Here, as before, we have divided the building by a horizontal string, but only by one main one on the first floor level, keeping the same contrast, however, between a richer portion above and a plainer portion below; we have divided the building vertically, also, by two projecting bays finishing in gables, thus breaking also the skyline of the roof, and giving it a little picturesqueness, and we have grouped the windows, instead of leaving them as so many holes in the wall at equal distances. The contrast between the ground and first floor windows is more emphatic; and it is now the more evident that the upper floor rooms are the best apartments, from their ample windows; it is also pretty evident that the first floor is divided into two main rooms with large bay windows, and a smaller room or a staircase window, between them; the second floor windows are also shifted up higher, the two principal ones going in to the gables, showing that the rooms below them have been raised in height.
Windows carried up the full height of these rooms, however, might be too large either for repose internally or for appearance externally, so the wall intervening between the top of these and the sill of the gables is a good field for some decorative treatment, confined to the bays, so as to assist in separating them from the straight wall which forms the background to them.Fig. 12
So far we have treated our building only as a private house. Without altering its general scale and shape we may suggest something entirely different from a private house. On Fig. 13, we have tried to give a municipal appearance to it, as if it were the guild hall of a small country town. The plain basement and the wide principal doorway, and the row of three very large equal-spaced windows above, render it unquestionable that this is a building with a low ground story, and one large room above. A certain "public building" effect is given to it by the large and enriched cornice with balustrade above and paneling below, and by the accentuation of the angles by projecting piers, and by the turrets over them, which give it quite a different character from that of a private house.Fig. 13
If, on the other hand, the building were the free library and reading room of the same small country town, we should have little doubt of this if we saw it as in Fig. 14, with the walls all blank (showing that they are wanted for ranging something against, and cannot be pierced for windows), and windows only in the upper portion. Similarly, if we want to build it as the country bank, we should have to put the large windows on the ground floor, bank clerks wanting plenty of light, and the ground story being always the principal one; and we might indulge the humor of giving it a grim fortress-like strength by a rusticated plinth (i.e., stones left or worked rough and rock-like) and by very massive piers between the windows, and a heavy cornice over them; the residential upper floor forming a low story subordinate to the bank story. It is true this would not satisfy a banker, who always wants classic pilasters stuck against the walls, that being his hereditary idea of bank expression in architecture.Fig. 14 Fig. 15
Now if we proceed to take to pieces the idea of architectural design, and consider wherein the problem of it consists, we shall find that it falls into a fourfold shape. It consists first in arranging the plan; secondly, in carrying up the boundary lines of this plan vertically in the shape of walls; thirdly, in the method of covering in the space which we have thus defined and inclosed; and, fourthly, in the details of ornamentation which give to it the last and concluding grace and finish. All building, when it gets beyond the mere wall with which we began, is really a method of covering in a space, or, if we may put it so, a collection of spaces, marked out and arranged for certain purposes. The first thing that the architect has to do is to arrange these spaces on the ground so that they may conveniently meet the necessary requirements of the building. Convenience and practical usefulness come first; but in any building which is worth the name of architecture something more than mere convenience has to be kept in mind, even in the arrangement of the plan upon the site. It is to be a combination of convenience with effectiveness of arrangement. We shall probably find that some one compartment of the plan is of paramount importance.
We have to arrange the interior so that this most important compartment shall be the climax of the plan.
The entrance and the other subsidiary compartments must be kept subordinate to it, and must lead up to it in such a manner that the spectator shall be led by a natural gradation from the subsidiary compartments up to the main one, which is the center and raison d'etre of the whole - everything in the lines of the plan should point to that. This is the great crux in the planning of complicated public buildings. A visitor to such a building, unacquainted with it previously, ought to have no difficulty in finding out from the disposition of the interior which are the main lines of route, and when he is on the line leading him up to the central feature of the plan. There are public buildings to be found arranged on what may be called the rabbit warren system, in which perhaps a great number of apartments are got upon the ground, but which the visitor is obliged laboriously to learn before he can find his way about them. That is not only inconvenient but inartistic planning, and shows a want of logic and consideration, and, in addition to this, a want of feeling for artistic effect. I saw not long ago, for instance, in a set of competitive designs for an important public building, a design exhibiting a great deal of grace and elegance in the exterior architectural embellishment, but in which the principal entrance led right up to a blank wall facing the entrance, and the spectator had to turn aside to the left and then to the right before finding himself on the principal axis of the plan. That is what I should call inartistic or unarchitectural planning.