A comparison between preference judgments of curvature and sharpness in architectural façades

Nicole Ruta, Stefano Mastandrea, Olivier Penacchio, Stefania Lamaddalena, Giuseppe Bove

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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Can curvature drive preference, perceived familiarity, complexity, stability and approachability for architectural façades? In this study, we generated four versions of the same reference building, varying only the amount of curvature introduced in the façade. Participants’ judgments were measured using three experimental methodologies. Multidimensional scaling on forced choices showed that the curved façade was the most preferred. Multidimensional unfolding on ranking task showed that the majority of participants expressed higher preferences for the curved façade compared to the sharp-angled and rectilinear ones. Ratings on different psychological variables provided supporting evidence for curvature significantly influencing liking and approachability judgments. Results from image analyses –using a dynamical model of the visual cortex and a model that characterizes discomfort in terms of adherence to the statistics of natural images – matched behavioural data. We discuss the implications of the findings on our understanding of human preferences, which are intrinsically dynamic and influenced by context and experience.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalArchitectural Science Review
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date28 Dec 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2018


  • Architectural façades
  • Curvature
  • Aesthetics
  • Visual comfort
  • Image analysis


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