Monday, April 12, 2010

Regulating Lines - an Introduction

The feed-back from my post on the regulating lines of Lorenzo has been considerable. So I am putting forward for your consideration what I know about geometry and pre-Industrial Revolution design. Mainly:

Regulating lines are not mystical or mythical. They are not magic.They are simply geometry applied to design and construction.

They began as an accurate way to measure and layout design when people had only simple tools: a point, a line, and something to mark with. The line could have been string, a rope, a chain. The marker could have been chalk, charcoal, a stylus on wax or wet clay.

Find some wet sand, a beach perhaps. Make a knot in a length of string. Tie a stick to the other end. Use your thumb on the knot to hold the end of the string on the sand. With your other hand pull the string taut and trace an arc in the sand with the stick. You have begun to use geometry to design.

Geometry can be read by 'illiterate' people, or rather: People can be literate in geometry without knowing numbers or letters. It is a separate language which, like music, does not need translation.

I will list the sources I know of in art and architecture. I hope there is more I just haven't found, yet.

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