Architectural history shows the formality of symmetry in a predictable and easy to understand way by creating a mirror image on an axis. Symmetry is a method of achieving order in design. Our understanding of design has progressed, we are subliminally aware that we do not have to be symmetrical, but ‘balance’ is essential.
An architectural design can be be completely asymmetrical yet still ‘balanced’ through the careful composition of positive and negative forms.
Achieving balance in architecture involves all aspects of design such as form, colour, texture and materials and is a skill that is not easy learnt or understood. A balanced composition can be evaluated simply by the feeling it evokes, it feels right. The design may have focal points but these would complement the design not distract you from the harmony of the whole.
Unbalance creates tension and elements may feel distracting. The more asymmetrical a composition has the more complex the balance requirements become. Evaluating balance in design uses senses which are not easily understood. i feel the potential of these senses are only fully realised when on site and creating balance in architecture is the fundamental essence of great design.