Concept Structures: Geometric Resolutions
The Book “Résolutions des quatre principeaux problems d’architecture” was written by the French architect Francois Blondel. The Book contains 86 pages of written text and some more pages at the end of technical drawings. Francois Blondel wrote this book in 1673.
Until 1673 Blondel’s scientific work was only known to a small circle of friends and correspondents. It was Colbert who effectively transformed his intellectual profile. From that year, Blondel started to publish a series of books which all include his thoughts and possible resolutions for mathematics. A big part of it was about architecture. Therefore the book starts with a letter written to Monseigneur Colbert. He was the Minister and Secretary of State at this time. At the beginning of the letter, you can see a drawing at the top of the page. Drawings like this one are rare in the book.
Following this letter, you can find the table of content which gives you more transparency. It shows that the book is divided in four main chapters. Every Chapter is mentioning one geometrical problem of architecture. Blondel wants to provide the readers with resolutions to these four problems.
He divided the book in the following chapters:
1. How to geometrically describe columns:
He tries to describe the columns in many ways but also all at once. In this chapter you can read about the circumstances of Blondel’s discovery. It also provides the description of the capability of drawing the curve in a single continuous line for columns of in every dimensions.
2. How to geometrically describe arches:
Blondel speaks about ascending arches. Because Francois Viète wrote about a lost work from an ancient Greek author, Blondel named his second resolution “The French Apollonius on Tangencies”.
3. How to geometrically find the true joints of all steep arches:
The Resolution of the third problem only contains a few pages Blondel tries to explain the process of calculating the joints.
4. How to find the line on which to cut the beams:
Blondel teaches us that it is important to cut all the beams correctly to make them all equally strong and resistant.
As I said in the beginning the chapters do not include a lot of illustration or drawings. You can barely locate one in a chapter. But sometimes you can find a little illustration which should help us to understand Blondel’s idea as trains of thoughts. All the illustrations are drawn exceptionally clean. You can clearly read them, and they are nice to look at.
The text is clearly dominating all the pages, but there is always some space left. Maybe this was for the reader to take notes and reflect about the problems or resolutions by themselves.
- Geometric shapes
- Static stability