Fractals in Architecture: Top 10 Tips on How to use them effectively

Join hands with Fractals and take your journey into designing a notch higher!

Sat Aug 19, 2023

Fractals inculcate the underlying geometric framework that forms the basis of any architectural system. From facade design to the partition of a floor plan, fractal systems possess the potential for subdividing space and components seamlessly. 

Among an array of other characteristics, fractals are majorly known for the property of self-similarity or recurrence. These follow strict or rigid rule systems that are assessed using mathematical functions. If you think systematically, the workflow that connects all the components of your project is generated by unifying every element into an amalgamated structure. 

To help you ace your designing game using this concept of Fractals, here are some tips that can take you through the fundamentals seamlessly.

10 Tips for blending in Fractals seamlessly within your Architectural Workflows

1. Generation of Geometries

To get started with the process of designing and streamlining your workflows, you first need to have your geometry at hand. To do this, it is integral to understand how to generate a fractal design or a fractal geometry.

Mandelbulb 3D or Grasshopper comes in really handy when it comes to geometry generation. Depending on your comfort and requirements, you can also start with a hand drawing.

2. Streamline Complex sets of Data

Fractals in Architecture


To begin with designing using fractals and fractal geometries, keeping pace with complex data sets is the first and foremost step. When it comes to curating meticulous structures or designs such as cities, you first need to streamline the complex sets of data that you have at hand. This offers an enhanced arrangement along with a smooth transition into further procedures.

3. Manipulate Materials Creatively

Articulating interesting designs entails adopting materials that resonate with a project's overall aesthetics and functionality. Tackling fractal geometries is nothing short of a co-dependent and creative process with respect to everyone involved. Therefore, manipulating materials creatively and thinking collaboratively with them comes into being as an essential step.

4. Stack your Design Systems

Systemic designing can be a game-changer when it comes to inculcating fractals in your workflows. While dealing with multiple programmatic and environmental parameters, stacking your systems takes you through a more pragmatic and seamless way of designing. Additionally, it allows your geometrical system to respond with respect to every individual parameter, including structurally, circulatory, volumetrically, and subdivisional.

5. Evolve Progressions and learn from Nature

Once you get acquainted with Fractals and how to use them as a part of your design methodology, this one comes into being naturally. Allow your rules to evolve over the progression of your project as you proceed with the addition and subtraction of entire systems. Learn from nature and refer to its novel patterns. 

Crystals and sea shells serve as great places to start for you to understand the ways in which nature and its structures propagate. If you have a nuanced, in-depth understanding of how these structures function, you can create novel systems of your own.

6. Inculcate Cross-referencing in Design

Designing using fractals can be made much easier and simpler by incorporating an array of ideologies in your approach. These ideologies can include cross-referencing, collaging, and blending patterns. 

“Cross-referencing, collaging, and blending patterns can be considered as gateways to discovering entirely new modes of structures. As you develop many systems of geometry, it gets more intriguing to delve into how they interact and influence each other while creating contrasting and dynamic relationships.” quotes Jack Oliva Rendler, E7 Architecture Studio, USA.

7. Freeze Concepts Before Generation

Before getting into the entire realm of designing, freezing concepts is always advised. Expand your creative boundaries and set up your concept prior to the structure generation. Besides the concept ideation, setting up the rule system is also quite important. The rules that your system encompasses may evolve, mutate, and adapt in accordance with the circumstances of your project. The best way to go about this is to start with a root formula.

8. Abstract is the way to go….

Fractals in design


When you think more along the lines of abstract creations, you are able to come up with geometries that are somewhat familiar to you in some way or another. Your abstract approach can be defined by a myriad of things, ranging from the tectonics of a certain machine to a certain motherboard. Delve into how the components for that particular object or thought come together and take it further from there.

9. Discipline to Channelise Intricacies

Learning anything new can seem overwhelming and difficult at first. But to understand the basics of fractal geometry and get into its deeper layers, discipline and patience are two aspects that are going to help you considerably. 

Jack Oliva Rendler, E7 Architecture Studio, USA, on the essentiality of disciplined rules while dealing with fractal geometries, “Allow your work to follow disciplined rules, be patient and allow yourself to look at the intricacies of your writing and geometry carefully, do not rush your process and deviate too far from the careful structure that underlies your work.”

10. Borrow from Resources

Borrowing inspiration from multiple sources as a beginner can really help you take things smoothly without much hassle. Taking an abstract approach while thinking creatively or observing nature could be some simple ways to start with. 

“Perhaps an architect or designer has already come up with a schematically outlined geometrical system that you are interested in. Commonly, we use precedents in architecture, yet a fractal project will use precedents differently as the system is augmented or mutated mathematically operationally.” quotes Jack Oliva Rendler, E7 Architecture Studio, USA.

Less Complexity, More Fun

Fractals Architecture

Carnegie Mellon University

The new age of designing is all about newfangled digital tools essentially used for modeling curves, surfaces, and channeling parametric formulas. Fractals and their associated geometries are largely based on this concept and more. 

To bridge the gap between your skills and fractal concepts, Futurly offers a pragmatic platform where you can attend various workshops, masterclasses, and courses that can seamlessly walk you through the entire ideology.


1. What are some properties of Fractals?

The following are some properties of fractals: Self-similar, Never-Ending, Irregular, Simplicity, Dimensional.

2. How can you incorporate Fractals in your architectural designs?

Fractals can be incorporated into architectural designs through the usage of self-similar elements, geometric patterns, and more. 

3. How can I generate a fractal geometry?

Mandelbulb 3D or Grasshopper comes in really handy when it comes to geometry generation

4. What are some tips that can help ease the process of designing using fractals?

Following are some tips that can ease the process of designing using fractals: Inculcate cross-referencing in design, Evolve progressions and learn from nature, Manipulate materials creatively, Stack your design systems and Streamline complex data sets.

5. How does abstract thinking help with the curation of fractal geometries?

When you think more along the lines of abstract creations, you are able to come up with geometries that are somewhat familiar to you in some way or another.

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Architectural Journalist

Saili Sawantt
An Architect + Writer, Saili has worked as an Architectural writer & brand storyteller. She has collaborated with firms, studios, organizations, luxury brands, events & educational institutions to communicate in the real estate & travel industry. Her recent initiatives include curating an online workshop on communication and networking within the AEC industry. She is a commentator on the design industry’s upkeep through her social handles and an avid reader and traveller.