The use of the golden section to regulate the proportions of forms and spaces is one of the most debated and controversial issues in architectural theory. In this article, I show that the work of the Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa has its roots in the classical theory of proportions. I examine two drawings to demonstrate how Scarpa applies harmonic proportions to a museum space, and the close ties between it and the artworks on display. Unlike Le Corbusier’s idealistic use of the golden section, Scarpa employs this proportional system in a pragmatic and experimental way. He applies it only in places of special importance, such as the ‘small masterpieces’ gallery in the Gallerie dell’Accademia and the Main Lecture Theatre at the IUAV in Venice. The analysis foregrounds two principles of Scarpa’s work that emerge as significant. First, small size is a prerequisite in the pursuit of perfection. Second, and more generally, the architectural project is a matter of visual perception based on the quest for the ‘right proportion’.

The golden section in the work of Carlo Scarpa: a study of two drawings

Gianluca Frediani
2020

Abstract

The use of the golden section to regulate the proportions of forms and spaces is one of the most debated and controversial issues in architectural theory. In this article, I show that the work of the Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa has its roots in the classical theory of proportions. I examine two drawings to demonstrate how Scarpa applies harmonic proportions to a museum space, and the close ties between it and the artworks on display. Unlike Le Corbusier’s idealistic use of the golden section, Scarpa employs this proportional system in a pragmatic and experimental way. He applies it only in places of special importance, such as the ‘small masterpieces’ gallery in the Gallerie dell’Accademia and the Main Lecture Theatre at the IUAV in Venice. The analysis foregrounds two principles of Scarpa’s work that emerge as significant. First, small size is a prerequisite in the pursuit of perfection. Second, and more generally, the architectural project is a matter of visual perception based on the quest for the ‘right proportion’.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11392/2421548
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