Geometrical Objects


From my chapter: Andrea Pozzo, Rules and Examples of Perspective Proper for Painters and Architects, etc., (London: J. Senes, R. Gosling, W. Innys, J. Osborn and T. Longman, 1707, reprint New York: Dover, 1989), plate 17, perspective study of Doric base.
Source: Susan Klaiber / public domain

Proceedings of 2007 Oxford Conference

What began as a small session at the Society of Architectural Historians 2005 Annual Meeting in Vancouver, and then developed into a very collegial two-day conference in Oxford in 2007, has now been published by Springer in both hardcover and e-book formats. My contribution, the chapter “Architecture and Mathematics in Early Modern Religious Orders,” may be previewed at Springer Link.

From the volume’s cover blurb:
Geo Objects coverThis volume explores the mathematical character of architectural practice in diverse pre- and early modern contexts. It takes an explicitly interdisciplinary approach, which unites scholarship in early modern architecture with recent work in the history of science, in particular, on the role of practice in the scientific revolution. As a contribution to architectural history, the volume contextualizes design and construction in terms of contemporary mathematical knowledge, attendant forms of mathematical practice, and relevant social distinctions between the mathematical professions. As a contribution to the history of science, the volume presents a series of micro-historical studies that highlight issues of process, materiality, and knowledge production in specific, situated, practical contexts. Our approach sees the designer’s studio, the stone-yard, the drawing floor, and construction site not merely as places where the architectural object takes shape, but where mathematical knowledge itself is deployed, exchanged, and amplified among various participants in the building process.​

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Anthony Gerbino, editor, Geometrical Objects: Architecture and the Mathematical Sciences 1400-1800, Archimedes 38, (Cham: Springer, 2014).


• Introduction Anthony Gerbino


• Proportion and Continuous Variation in Vitruvius’s De Architectura Bernard Cache

Mathematics and Material Culture in Italian Renaissance Architecture

• The Palazzo del Podestà in Bologna: Precision and Tolerance in a Building all’Antica Francesco Benelli

• Practical Mathematics in the Drawings of Baldassarre Peruzzi and Antonio da Sangallo the Younger Ann C. Huppert

• Geometric Survey and Urban Design: A Project for the Rome of Paul IV (1555–1559) David Friedman

The Baroque Institutional Context

• Architecture and Mathematics in Early Modern Religious Orders Susan Klaiber

• The Master of Painted Architecture: Andrea Pozzo, S. J. and His Treatise on Perspective Kirsti Andersen

Narratives for the Birth of Structural Mechanics

• Geometry, Mechanics, and Analysis in Architecture Jacques Heyman

• Epistemological Obstacles to the Analysis of Structures: Giovanni Bottari’s Aversion to a Mathematical Assessment of Saint-Peter’s Dome (1743) Pascal Dubourg Glatigny

• A Scientific Concept of Beauty in Architecture: Vitruvius Meets Descartes, Galileo, and Newton Filippo Camerota

Architecture and Mathematical Practice in the Enlightenment

• Breathing Room: Calculating an Architecture of Air Jeanne Kisacky

• James “Athenian” Stuart and the Geometry of Setting Out David Yeomans, Jason M. Kelly, Frank Salmon

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The Archimedes Series

Archimedes has three fundamental goals: to further the integration of the histories of science and technology with one another; to investigate the technical, social and practical histories of specific developments in science and technology; and finally, where possible and desirable, to bring the histories of science and technology into closer contact with the philosophy of science. …Its subjects include any of the sciences, ranging from biology through physics, all aspects of technology, broadly construed, as well as historically-engaged philosophy of science or technology. Taken as a whole, Archimedes will be of interest to historians, philosophers, and scientists, as well as to those in business and industry who seek to understand how science and industry have come to be so strongly linked.
Source: Springer

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