Category Archives: Alessio Salvatore Verdolino



As in the seventeenth century Galileo wrote “The Book of Nature is written in characters of Geometry“, so the Scottish biologist D’Ancy W. Thompson, almost four centuries later,  undertook a study focused on the use of mathematics to describe what is still a recurring theme: the “evolution”. He pushed himself to the limits of research with the ambition to find a “scheme” of Nature (“On Growth and Form” published on 1917).

The chapter in point is “Comparison of the related Forms“, where Thompson, inspired by the work of the artist Albrecht Dürer, explores the degree to which differences in the forms of related animals could be described by means of relatively simple mathematical transformation.

After fixing (drawn) on a classical cartesian plane his study models (bones, skulls, fishes), he proceeded with linear transformations and affine transformations, rotations, reflections and translations, which were going to change the design of the basic model in a new design attributable to a different characteristics model, but of the same biological “family” (i.e. from the cannon-bone of ox to a cannon-bone of sheep).

Doing so he reported four different methods of deformation of the cartesian plane: transformation with linear function; logarithmic increase; when the rectangular coordinates become “oblique” and their axes have a Certain angle “w” and transformation to radial coordinates with one focus point.

Concisely, starting from a rigid mathematical and geometrical view, the biologist investigated new meanings of forms in nature trying to give them “mathematical names.”

As we have already seen for Rudofsky, the method of analysis and work is the same as the one used here by Thompson, ZOOM IN and ZOOM OUT, ​​which we can compare, in affinity and practical significance, with the short film directed by Ray and Charles Eames (“Powers of Ten” –

An holistic view is essential to issues such as Form and Nature, Science and Art, Human Being and Society.

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“Can we really retreat into self-contained boxes without losing something of the essence of being human?”


“Can we really retreat into self-contained boxes without losing something of the essence of being human?”

Starting from the analysis of the whole and ending up to the particular that is how Rudofsky analyzes the conditions under which the man, specifically the Anglo-Saxon culture, relates intself to the environment in the broadest sense (“The Conditioned Outdoor Room” extracted from the script “Behind the Picture Window”).

Here the Austrian architect consider the history, causes and consequences of the estrangement of the modern-man and his way of living from what he calls the “outdoor room”, that is the missing link between private life and man’s relationship with nature, implicitly criticizing the ideas of order and rationalism of modern architecture.

Interesting is the comparison, in uses and designs, between the ancient Roman peristylium or Japanese gardens and the idea of Anglo-Saxon garden, defined as “un-occupied space”.

In the first examples, nature has a more poetic and a first contact with the “room-mates”, it still being managed by man (“That reverted to indoor outdoor”). It does not happen for the second one, where the garden is a resulting space between houses or a buffer between public space and private area.

At the end, a reflection on that archetype element, such as the wall, considered primarily as a symbol of the tree. The two elements despite being of a different nature, live in a symbiosis of metaphors: sculpture, shadows and reflections, screening, barrier …

The wall as an object full of potential: confidentiality, boundary, separation, window, density / climate utility, density / light …

“The ego as knowledge cannot be understood unless it starts from the exploration of others as knowledge. In this sense, the other is one of the faces of the ego, its possibility still unexpressed, a form of its entity.” Adonis

In the ensuing discussion in the auditorium, through the analysis of the various texts, we have been spoken of the role, and most importantly, of relationships that humans have with its surroundings, architectural and even more. We speculated on the meaning of ENVIRONMENT, on how to change the spaces and how and what we are affected depending on these changes. We talked about the “CHAOS” and the ideological confusion that modern-thinking led to generations of architects, the loss of cultural roots and about a “human (soul) scale” vision of a better world.

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Also posted in Relational Logic - Critical Readings | Comments closed