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Introduction to Architectural Proportion with Rachel Fletcher

Introduction to Architectural Proportion with Rachel Fletcher

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.

Required Materials

  • 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
  • Eraser
  • Lead pointer or sandpaper block or small piece of fine sandpaper
  • Pencil sharpener



Learning Objectives

  • 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.

Thank you to our sponsor of this ICAA FL Educational Event Caoba Doors

Caoba Doors

The Florida Chapter would like to thank their sponsors

Patron’s Circle Sponsor

Cove Construction Group
Fernando Wong Outdoor Living Design
Flower Construction
Woolems Luxury Builders

Henry Flagler Donors

Fairfax & Sammon
Shoreline Building Group
Gil Walsh Interiors



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December 3, 2022
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Free – $80.00
Event Category:


Glasgow Hall – Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center, University of Miami
1223 Theo Dickinson Drive
Coral Gables, FL United States
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