"...Why is symmetry so satisfying?"

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wrote:

The "Queen Ann" style of late Victorian and the later "shingle" style which often were / are deliberately asymmetric, but balanced, are examples of non-symmetrical houses that still are pleasing to the eye. I worked during the 70's for a FLLW follower who always did unsymmetrical, but beautifully balanced (and detailed) houses. His larger commercial structures were largely forgettable, however. EDS
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wrote:

Why didn't you SAY is was a book review. Why didn't you SAY it was by Rybczynski?
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When I went through my "Gee, maybe I should be OCD" phase I found asymmetry to be deeply in need of satisfaction. I would step on a crack with my left foot. Then I NEEDED to step on a crack with my right foot. But I would do it with the front rather than rear of my foot out of sheer lack of attention. Then I NEEDED to step on a crack with the front of my left foot and still NEEDED to step on a crack with the rear of my right foot... ad infinitum. For example. I could feel the wrongness in the soles of my feet.
It seems different than "wow, that's really pretty. I guess because it's got strong classical symmetry."
(The following is all re: normal old architectural bilateral symmetry) Raises a point - Is the US Capitol more satisfying than McCormick Place? Is that "superiority" evident in the fact that McCP is more usually photographed on the oblique, emphasizing a different aesthetic entirely?
http://www.aia.org/aiarchitect/thisweek04/tw1203/1203firm_mpp_b.jpg . The nut of the question is about.. hm, don't know the words, I'm sure the taxonomy exists somewhere... the emphasized symmetry of the Capitol: not only is it symmetrical it marks the center/axis; it has strong elements at the ends which say "yup, one here and one over there"___ and ___ the de-emphasized symmetry that arrises more by accident from the grid. If you repeat a panel n times then you CAN draw a line down the middle and say "see, mirror images". Is Crown Hall, a miniature McCP (yes, I'm aware of the dates; no, I don't care) more satisfying than McCP because it has a marked center?
And then there's nesting. If something like the USC were made of sub elements which weren't locally symmetrical, would that come to us as less satisfying? Then the question is - if nesting is good then how deeply do we carry it? Which, must rely on experience - "Is the viewer going to get closer?"
This thread has mentioned "balanced asymmetry" but hasn't talked about what it means, what different flavours there might be, what works better.
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I'm inclined to put my aesthetic money on "fractal or chaotic symmetry". For example, I can like some women who have one eye higher than the other. Another young woman in high school I thought especially cute had one lazy eyelid. (Hi Tina ;) And of course we all know that many have one breast bigger than the other, right? And what about those flatfish-- the ones that apparently evolved from the unflat? Cool-looking-- like some kind of software intermorphapolation that God creatively halted just before the end. ...Then again, I dislike those puffy Chinese "tri-caudal-finned" goldfish. So, as for the original topic, I'd say that, for me, pure symmetry may be less-than-satisfying.
(I wonder what kind of symmetry the exchange between you and Kris had. ;)
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