Where Does The Golden Ratio Exist In Architecture

Symmetrical Balance in Architecture

Architects throughout the ages have put a strong emphasis on the importance of balance in their designs. One of the most fundamental aspects of creating a pleasing structure is how to manage the spatial relationships of its elements. This is achieved through forms of symmetrical balance known as the golden ratio.
The concept of the golden ratio has its origin in mathematics, with the earliest recorded references going back to ancient Greek civilisations over 2000 years ago. It is often depicted as a curved line, favoured by ancient Greeks in sculpture, painting, architecture and philosophy. The golden ratio is generally accepted to be 1:1.618, which is often expressed in architectural terms as ratio of the length of the structure to its width.
Symmetrical balance in design was embraced by the Renaissance architects during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Italian Renaissance was a period of great innovation in architecture, and the use of the golden ratio has been found in buildings from this period including St.Peters Basilica, Florence Cathedral and Il Duomo di Firenze.
The golden ratio is also visible in the works of later architects, most notably, Le Corbusier.The French architect was a passionate advocate of the use of the golden ratio in his architecture, designing a number of buildings featuring this balanced system. His theories on the visual aesthetics of a building’s form and composition, which he called “The Modular”, are widely credited for revolutionising the design of modernist buildings.
The continuing relevancy of the golden ratio can also be seen in more modern structures. Some of the most iconic buildings across the world have employed its principles including Guggenheim Bilbao, the Louvre Gallery and the World Trade Center Twin Towers.

The Benefits of the Golden Ratio in Architecture

The use of the golden ratio provides an aesthetic advantage over other types of symmetrical balance. By adhering to this system, architects create visually appealing buildings, characterised by beauty and harmony. Additionally, this system of balance is also seen to have practical benefits.
Many buildings which feature the golden ratio are far more durable in comparison to other structures. This is due to the fact that the ratio ensures structural stability and ensures natural distribution of forces throughout the building.
Also, by following the golden ratio, architects utilise space more efficiently. Because of the balanced symmetry the natural flow of a building is easily identified, which can help designers to accommodate occupants more efficiently and make spaces look bigger.

The Criticism of the Golden Ratio

Notwithstanding the benefits, there have been some criticisms of the golden ratio in architecture over the years. Some Modernists argued that the golden ratio was too rigid for free-form designs which were becoming popular during the 19th and 20th centuries.
It has also been argued that the ratio was overrated by architects and designers, and there is a lack of evidence that its involvement was ever decisive in the finished product.

Exploring the Influence of the Golden Ratio

It is impossible to accurately determine whether or not the golden ratio is present in the built form of a structure. Various studies over the years have attempted to measure to what extent the real world application of the ratio in architecture differs from its theoretical basis.
However, despite being a source of debate, there is no denying the significance of the golden ratio to architects throughout the years. It remains an important tool through which architects can create beautiful and balanced forms.

Modern Applications

Although the golden ratio has been around for thousands of years, it is still being applied in modern architectural designs today. It can be seen in the layout of many hotels, casinos and cities. In some cases, the ratio is even used to govern the sizes of components in new buildings.
In recent years, the idea of incorporating the golden ratio into the design of websites or applications has become increasingly popular. By embracing the same principles of balance used in architecture, designers can help to create a visually appealing user experience which is comfortable and pleasing for users.

Using the Golden Ratio in Interior Design

The golden ratio is not just limited to architecture, it can be used in the design of interior spaces too. The same principles of balance, symmetry and aesthetics that are evident in architecture can equally be applied to interior spaces. By incorporating the ratio into furniture placement and the proportions and sizes of objects, designers can create a harmonious, coherent and visually pleasing environment within a room.

Exploring Alternative Ratios

Although the golden ratio has dominated architecture and design for centuries, some architects have explored alternative ratios in their work. For example, some have adopted the so-called “law of the third” which is inspired by the Fibonacci sequence. By introducing alternative proportions and sourcing inspiration from various mathematical and scientific principles, architects have sought to create unique structures, that challenge the traditional rules of symmetry and proportion.

The Growing Relevance of Mathematical Principles

Mathematical equations, signifying orderly creativeness as well as analytical clarity, have grown ever more relevant in architecture and design. With the use of computers and advanced software, designers have access to cutting-edge measuring and production techniques.
This has enabled architects to precisely apply mathematical equations and formulae to their designs and create structures with a high level of accuracy. From intricate decorative patterns to the overall design of a building, mathematical principles such as the golden ratio, help architects bring balance and grace to the structures they design.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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