Friday, November 07, 2008

A Few Words on Direction

The regarding of physical nature as material governed by mathematical laws would be seen as blasphemous within medieval Christian theology.

To access the architecture and sacred cathedrals of medieval Europe, we must recognize that material nature was seen as potential for the manifestation of God.  The geometrical and proportional order that structured the cosmos also structured the medieval cathedral.  At once the material realm was understood reasonably and symbolically.  This connection between the symbolic and the practical is where I wish to investigate.

Architectural engineering is the application of mathematical laws upon a meaningless material, in order to predict the behaviour of the material.  In order for the architecture to stand against gravity, the various parts and forces are calculated in order to ensure the structure does not fail.  The material is analyzed in detail, and generalizations about its strength are made.  These generalizations take relation in a complete proportional system.

My intention is to re-introduce nature as a moral entity similar to the manner in which medieval master masons understood nature, whilst simultaneously understanding contemporary architectural engineering as a symbolic proportional system.