Parti pris

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A parti pris[1] is an organizing thought or decision behind an architect's design, presented in the form of a basic diagram or a simple statement.[2]

It may be shortened to "parti". The term comes from 15th century French, in which "parti pris" meant "decision taken." Later, it took on the meaning of "bias" or "prejudice".[3] The term developed in a particularly Euro-centric context of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France in which the proponents were predominantly white, male and well-to-do.

The development of the parti frequently precedes the development of plan, section, and elevation diagrams.[4]

Due to the fact that it defines the organizing thought prior to research, exploration, collaboration and the development of intentions, the "parti" is a passé approach to architectural design. Critics argue that recent historical attempts to recover the term for contemporary times are conservative and nostalgic for a simpler time. They make the case that parti is a stand in for a formalist approach to architecture that abdicates responsibility and social engagement.


  1. ^ James Stevens Curl (2000). "parti.". A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Oxford University Press. Retrieved May 17, 2009.
  2. ^ Ching, Francis D. K. (1995). A Visual Dictionary of Architecture. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. p. 53. ISBN 0-442-02462-2.
  3. ^ One, Blue (21 November 2012). "An Introduction to Architecture and Visual Communications: parti". Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  4. ^ Mandelbaum, Melissa. "Applying Architecture to Product Design: Parti". Retrieved 18 July 2016.