Abstract

Symmetry: Culture and Science
Volume 29, Number 3, pages 389-407 (2018)
https://doi.org/10.26830/symmetry_2018_3_389

THE RULES OF SYMMETRY AND PROPORTION IN MICHELE SANMICHELI’S DESIGN METHODS

Paolo Sanvito*

* Address: Technical University of Berlin, Department of Architectural Theory, 135 Straße des 17. Juni, Berlin, 10623 Germany
E-mail: sanvito@win.tu-berlin.de
ORCID: 0000-0002-5767-9806

Abstract: Michele Sanmicheli appears as one of the architects whose theory is the closest to the issues of symmetrical design and proportional “tuning” of spatial elements in his design composition, which is either two-dimensional (in façades) or three-dimensional (in building forms). A special attention emerges through the observation of rhythms and compositions of proportions nearly everywhere in his oeuvre, accompanied by a preference for tripartite arches imitating ancient design formulas. Because the subject of this essay is not rhythmic composition but mathematics, we shall only deal with the specific mathematical topic of proportional surfaces and the ways Sanmicheli composed them. Sometimes he interpreted them, which may have influenced even a young Palladio.

Keywords: Proportion, golden section, Venetian architectural theory.