6 credits towards the Certificate in Classical Architecture (Proportion) | 6 AIA CES Learning Units|Elective
This course provides a fundamental introduction to architectural proportion, with an emphasis on the art of geometric proportion. Students will learn design techniques for achieving well-proportioned spatial compositions, practice drawing, and study the congruous proportions of famous architects in the classical tradition such as Andrea Palladio and Thomas Jefferson. The course includes: an introduction to the value of proportion and the experience of drawing with a compass and rule; useful definitions and theorems; step-by-step instructions for drawing geometric constructions and elementary √2, √3, and golden mean systems of proportion; techniques for composing spaces harmonically; analyses demonstrating the appearance of incommensurable proportions in the human anatomy, the natural world, and works of design and architecture.
- 8.5″ x 11″ to 11″ x 14″ unlined drawing paper
- Drawing pencils (HB, H or F weight)
- Red and/or blue colored pencils
- Tracing paper (12″ roll)
- 6” bow compass and extra leads
- Dividers (optional)
- 12″ straightedge
- Drafting tape or dots
- Lead pointer or sandpaper block or small piece of fine sandpaper
- Pencil sharpener
- The instructor will provide a foundational knowledge of the elements of geometric systems of proportions, including basic definitions, theorems, and techniques.
- Students will be able to execute basic drawing fundaments (how to draw a perpendicular line, how to find a midpoint) with a compass and rule.
- By the end of the course, students will be able to produce 9 x 12” drawings and spatial compositions with compass and rule that demonstrate elementary geometric proportional systems based on incommensurable √2, √3, and golden mean ratios.
- Students will have observed the application of √2, √3, and golden mean systems of proportion in examples of nature, the human anatomy, and classical architecture on which to build a broader understanding of geometric proportional systems and their application to design and architecture.
Rachel Fletcher is the author of Infinite Measure: Learning to Design in Geometric Harmony with Art, Architecture, and Nature and Harmony by Design: The Golden Mean. Her work as a theatrical designer led to her deeper study into the principles of geometric proportion as a design system, resulting in an International Center for Jefferson Studies Fellowship Award to study geometric proportions in Thomas Jefferson’s architecture, as well as a post for ten years as contributing editor to the Nexus Network Journal of Architecture and Mathematics. Fletcher is a faculty member of the New York School of Interior Design and teaches for the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. A resident of Great Barrington, MA, she is the founding director of the town’s Housatonic River Walk.
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