Elements of Architectural Design: Formal
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Theme and Variation:
A theme is a dominant feature of a work of art that is carried throughout the piece. A variation is a change in the dominant elements with the main idea still recognizable. An architect might design a building using a theme based on history such as a Classical building with columns, domes and pediments, or make reference to architecture of another culture such as choosing to style the building using simple, horizontal forms of the Japanese. Frank Lloyd Wright often chose a geometric theme for his Prairie School houses. In these homes he altered the sizes of squares and rectangles to add variety while maintaining the geometric theme of the buildings.