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Introduction to Proportion with Steve Bass

Introduction to Proportion with Steve Bass

4 credits towards the Certificate in Classical Architecture (Proportion) | 4 AIA CES Learning Units|HSW


The class provides an overview of the concept of proportion as a design tool in traditional architecture, presented in the form of lectures and demonstrations. The content includes an explanation of the idea of symbolic or qualitative number; an introduction to Pythagorean and Platonic numerical philosophy; the nature of beauty, its relation to number, and its positive, healthful effects; the derivation of the ancient musical octave and its use as a guide to harmony; a discussion of the Golden Section, its mathematics, geometry, relation to philosophy, and particularly its role as a geometrical “logos”; and the connection of all these ideas to the numerical-geometrical canons of classical architecture. These ideas are applied to historical archetypes, such as the four column portico, through demonstrations using arithmetic, geometric, and harmonic ratio methods of application to achieve harmonic and uplifting design outcomes. The course may be taken as an introduction to these ideas or as a review for those who have some background with the subject.

Required Materials

Participants should bring pencils or graphic markers, a compass, straightedge, and paper, either loose or in a notebook, 9″ x 12″ or larger. Students may use wet media, pen and wash, if they wish. Surfaces for drawing need to be provided.


Learning Objectives

  • Appreciate the nature of beauty and the role it plays in individual and social health and welfare.
  • Understand number in a symbolic rather than mathematical sense and how this connects aesthetics to aspects of ancient philosophy used to obtain positive, salutary effects on human perception.
  • Understand the nature of rational ratios, composed of whole numbers, and transcendental ratios such as the Golden Section which are not composed of whole numbers, as an approach to achieving the beautiful, and its beneficial effects, in architectural composition.
  • Use geometric, arithmetic and harmonic methods of application of proportion for analysis of historical designs and to create new designs that achieve a balanced and harmonious state in the users and observers of design work.
Steve Bass

Steve Bass Architect


Steve Bass grew up in New York City where he has maintained a small personal architectural practice since 1974. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Pratt Institute, 1970; a Master of Arts from the Royal College of Art, London, 1991, where he studied under the direction of Dr. Keith Critchlow; and was a participant in the initial Prince of Wales’s Summer Course in Architecture, 1990. Steve is currently a Fellow of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art in New York City where he teaches on the theoretical and applied aspects of proportion and geometry in design. He has also taught at Notre Dame University, the Grand Central Academy of Art, the New York Open Center and other venues. His book, ‘Beauty Memory Unity – A Theory of Proportion in Architecture and Design’ is currently available from Lindisfarne Books.


This course is a ZOOM ONLY program, a link and instructions will be emailed to you the week of the course.

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

Woolems Luxury Builders
Fernando Wong Outdoor Living Design
Flower Construction

Henry Flagler Donors

Fairfax & Sammon
Gil Walsh Interiors



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October 29, 2022
10:00 am - 2:30 pm
Free – $80.00
Event Category:


FL United States