Urban spaceman. Modulor


According to Wikipedia, the Modulor is an anthropometric scale of proportions devised by the architect Le Corbusier (1887ā€“1965), as a visual bridge between the imperial and the metric systems. It is based on the height of a man with his arm raised.

Described as the ‘functionalist Modernist man of the six-foot Corbusian detective’ in the Architectural Review in their discussion of Jos Boys’ Doing Disability Differently, Modular represents the dead white male school of architectural perspective. Le Corbusier picked six feet arbitrarily, basing it on the notional height of British detectives in the novels he was fond of using.

This Modulor Man is segmented according the “golden section”, a ratio of approximately 1.61; so the ratio of the total height of the figure to the height to the figure’s navel is 1.61. These proportions can be scaled up or down to infinity using a Fibonacci progression. In devising this system, Corbusier was joining a 2000-year-old hunt for the mathematical architecture of the universe, a search that had obsessed Pythagoras, Vitruvius and Leonardo Da Vinci

…’What’s really important is that the Modulor puts the human form back at the centre of design. In the present architectural climate of post-modern free-for-all, driven by computer processors and buoyed by parametric ideology, biomorphism runs riot, but human proportions are out of the picture.’

William Wiles. ICON.






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