Measure, metre, irony: reuniting pure mathematics with architecture
|Published in:||arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, March 2002, n. 1, v. 6|
The human body once provided the fundamental measurements by which to gauge human creations – but the metric system offers ‘mere number without concrete being’. A synthesis is needed.
Measure:mens(L – mind),mensurare= measuring/measure
Metre:metron(Gk),metrum(L – measuring rod),mètre(Fr) = metre
Irony:eironeia(Gk – simulated ignorance),eiron– dissembler and simulator of power = irony
No civilization has existed without measures, and each has described measures in a manner specific to its needs. To exist at all, measures must be practical and useful, and most have their origins in everyday experience. At some stage in the development of a civilized society measures will be refined, standardized and regulated and represented physically. To endure and be accepted by hundreds, thousands, even millions of people – across great civilizations and around the globe – measures must reflect and extend the authority of leaders. Measure is therefore a statement and record of the changing balance of power and independence. It is an expression of culture.
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