Adult myocardium adapts to changing functional demands by hyper- or hypotrophy while the developing heart reacts by hyper- or hypoplasia. How embryonic myocardial architecture adjusts to experimentally altered loading is not known. We subjected the chick embryonic hearts to mechanically altered loading to study its influence upon ventricular myoarchitecture. Chick embryonic hearts were subjected to conotruncal banding (increased afterload model), or left atrial ligation or clipping, creating a combined model of increased preload in right ventricle and decreased preload in left ventricle. Modifications of myocardial architecture were studied by scanning electron microscopy and histology with morphometry. In the conotruncal banded group, there was a mild to moderate ventricular dilatation, thickening of the compact myocardium and trabeculae, and spiraling of trabecular course in the left ventricle. Right atrioventricular valve morphology was altered from normal muscular flap towards a bicuspid structure. Left atrial ligation or clipping resulted in hypoplasia of the left heart structures with compensatory overdevelopment on the right side. Hypoplastic left ventricle had decreased myocardial volume and showed accelerated trabecular compaction. Increased volume load in the right ventricle was compensated primarily by chamber dilatation with altered trabecular pattern, and by trabecular proliferation and thickening of the compact myocardium at the later stages. A ventricular septal defect was noted in all conotruncal banded, and 25% of left atrial ligated hearts. Increasing pressure load is a main stimulus for embryonic myocardial growth, while increased volume load is compensated primarily by dilatation. Adequate loading is important for normal cardiac morphogenesis and the development of typical myocardial patterns.