MATHEMATICS, AT THE CORE OF EVERY DESIGN
The Pantheon is one of the most pure examples of mathematics being utilized in design. Most profound are its use of geometry.
Many definititions could be used to define the science of Mathematics. As discussed by professor Ozayr Saloojee at the University of Minnesota on October 31, 2006, mathematics can be considered a "pursuit of pure relationships and structure" and "a state of nature, waiting to be discovered by man, it is a time capsule, sent out into space, awaiting discovery, an internally consistent way of mapping the world". The Pantheon of Athens, Rome is all that and more. As Euclid of Alexander, the "father of geometry" would greatly appreciate, the Pantheon makes use of the most basic geometric shapes in it's structural design.
Consisting principally of a sphere with a radius equal to the height of the cylinder upon which it rests, the most profound space in the Pantheon is the rotunda. By using the basic geometric shapes, the building was able to enclose the largest space of its time, 142.5 feet wide beneath the dome interior.
The sphere, the most basic 3D shape to exist is present in nature in numerous forms, from planets and stars spinning throughout the galaxies to the electrons that zip around the nucleous of atoms that make up our very existence. The grandeos spherical enclosed space maps our existence differently than the stars or parts of the atoms. The Pantheon is unique as it maps mankind and mankind alone. It symbolizes the beliefs and achievements of the Greek era and serves as a template for the architecture used in present day design.
Taken from "The Pantheon" by William MacDonald, page 68, Vitruvious, who architectural writings are the earliest in existence today, "speculated about proportions in both architecture and the human figure, and their sympathetic relationships". Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of the "Vitruvian Man" depicts this idealized relationship.
Images and documentation for this blog were obtained from the following sources:
1. MacDonald, William L. The Pantheon. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1976.
4. Saloojee Ozayr, Lecture at the University of Minnesota, October 31, 2006.