Saturday, April 17, 2010

Regulating Lines #3 - Architecture

In November, 2009, Laurie Smith gave a workshop and a lecture at The Timber Framers Guild Eastern Conference in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Laurie Smith is a designer and a historic design researcher from Wales who is investigating the use of geometrical design in medieval Britain, documenting the use of circles and 'daisy wheel' geometry in the design of houses, tithe barns, and cathedrals. Ely Cathedral is pictured here.
His work is thorough, fascinating and thought provoking. Some of what he has written has been published in Timber Framing, the Journal of the Timber Framers Guild,

My professors in architectural history had been in Europe after WWII. They told us about cathedrals in which the 'mark' (similar to a signature) of the stone mason could be seen on the parts of the columns. The marks were derived from the Golden Section.

Vitruvius, the Roman architect and engineer who wrote De Architectura, (On Architecture) in 10 books, writes about geometry and proportion, including the description of man as the basis for design that Leonardo da Vinci drew as the outstretched man in the circle. (I use a print by Cesare di Lorenzo Cesariano, c.1521, here.)

Peter Tompkins' Secrets of the Great Pyramid spends several chapters explaining how the pyramids are designed using the golden section. His book has much information about ancient Egyptian astronomy and
I didn't know about this book until a friend put his copy in the mail to me. Thanks, Bill. You'll get it back!

Arthur J. Lawton, and some others, researched the use of the square and its diagonal in Pennsylvania Dutch construction. It was published by the magazine, Pennsylvania Folklife, in the 1970's.
Section, its permutations, and the resulting regulating lines.

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