Proportion: Science, Philosophy, Architecture

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Taylor & Francis, 1999 - Architecture - 388 pages
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Of the many arguments for proportion systems in architecture the most ancient and compelling is that the natural world is an intelligible, mathematically ordered whole, and the artifacts we place in it, as extensions of nature, should obey the same laws. Although this was still the argument of Le Corbusier - as earlier of Alberti - it was profoundly shaken by post-Renaissance science and the empiricist philosophy which flowed from it.
In Proportion, Richard Padovan looks at the problem from a new angle, taking empiricism as a starting-point. In order to know anything about the world, we have to discover regularities in it. These regularities can be explained, not by assuming that they are inherrent in nature and that nature impresses them on the mind but they are inherent in the mind and the mind impresses them on nature. Our perception of the world, our scientific hypotheses, are therefore artifacts, no less than our buildings and other works of art. Both science and art are ways of making the world intelligible; that is to say, of making in intelligible world. And in art as in science the key to intelligibility is mathematical order.
 

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Contents

Chapter one THE HARMONY OF THE WORLD MADE MANIFEST IN FORM AND NUMBER
1
Chapter two ABSTRACTION AND EMPATHY
15
Chapter three UNIT AND MULTIPLIER
33
Chapter four THE HOUSE AS MODEL FOR THE UNIVERSE
53
Chapter five THE PROPORTIONS OF THE PARTHENON
75
ORDER OUT OF CHAOS
96
CHANGE CONTINUITY AND THE UNIT
113
THE GOLDEN SECTION AND THE FIVE REGULAR SOLIDS
133
Chapter eleven HUMANISM AND ARCHITECTURE
210
Chapter twelve RENAISSANCE COSMOLOGY
249
Chapter thirteen THE WORLD AS A MACHINE
264
Chapter fourteen FROM THE OUTER TO THE INNER WORLD
281
Chapter fifteen THE GOLDEN SECTION AND THE GOLDEN MODULE
307
Chapter sixteen THE HOUSE AS A FRAME FOR LIVING AND A DISCIPLINE FOR THOUGHT
342
REFERENCES
377
INDEX
387

Chapter nine VITRUVIUS
159
Chapter ten GOTHIC PROPORTIONS
176

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About the author (1999)

Richard Padovan lectures at the University of Bath.

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