The French Monk, the Quiet Swede, and the Golden Section

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Jeff Reuben

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Published: 5 May 2020 | Article Type :


The Golden Section is a geometric ratio often touted for its aesthetically perfect proportions and its use as a design blueprint found in both nature and in iconic works of architecture throughout history. The Parthenon is often cited as the prototype par excellence of Golden Section architecture, though such assertions are not supported by empirical studies. Among twentieth century architects it is most commonly associated with Le Corbusier and his Modulor system. However, two of his lesser known contemporaries - Dom Paul Bellot, a Benedictine monk-architect, and Sigurd Lewerentz, an enigmatic Swede - also created works in which the Golden Section was applied, but with adjustments and in combination with other dimensions as part of unified systems of proportion. With much less fanfare, they show how the Golden Section can be applied in brick and mortar, but also reveal the limits of this divine proportion.

Keywords: Sigurd Lewerentz; Dom Paul Bellot; twentieth century architecture; chapels;The Parthenon; golden section / golden number / golden mean; proportion; proportional analysis; proportional systems; ratio; sequences.

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Jeff Reuben. (2020-05-05). "The French Monk, the Quiet Swede, and the Golden Section." *Volume 3*, 2, 21-29