Environmental Furnishings

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Environmental Furnishings


in architecture, various types of buildings or structures, differing in character and purpose, that embellish and add to park and urban architectural settings. They are also elements for equipping and improving the urban environment. In terms of absolute dimensions, environmental furnishings are usually smaller than such structures as residential, public, and industrial buildings. Although they are sometimes elements of more complex structures (fences, gates, fountains), as a rule they are relatively independent entities, unlike building wings and architectural ornament. In comparison with large architectural forms, environmental furnishings are frequently characterized by a decorative treatment of spatial organization.

There are various types of environmental furnishings. In one type, which includes memorial steles, epitaphs, and honor rolls, ideological content is of primary importance. The works are generally unique and sometimes serve as the ideological and compositional center of urban complexes. They are constructed primarily from durable materials. In other enviromental furnishings emphasis is either placed solely on the decorative (particularly characteristic of Renaissance, baroque, and classical architecture) or there is equal emphasis upon decorative and functional elements (characteristic of 20th-century architecture). Such furnishings include fountains, cascades, pools, park pavilions, summer houses, bridges, stairs, ramps, balustrades, gratings, fences, gates, awnings, pergolas, flowerpots, decorative and recreational sculpture, vases, and benches (all these are important compositional elements of urban and park ensembles and are frequently built according to standard designs and from nondurable materials).

Some environmental furnishings are essential for modern urban life (various types of electric lamps, stands and booths, public transportation stations, commercial vending machines, telephone booths). The list of such furnishings is constantly increasing; their appearance and construction are determined by their purpose and by their specific technical equipment. Other environmental furnishings serve as means of mass communication (poster and newspaper display counters; urban advertising, including neon signs; street signs). In designing environmental furnishings an important role is played by principles of architecture, city planning, and artistic design.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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