1st Edition

Finding San Carlino Collected Perspectives on the Geometry of the Baroque

Edited By Adil Mansure, Skender Luarasi Copyright 2020
    204 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    204 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, also called San Carlino, is an architectural artefact that continues to attract numerous hypotheses and geometric analyses attempting to explain its form and meaning. Numerous investigations have attempted to reveal its underlying geometrical principles, without, however, reaching a consensus. Finding San Carlino presents an edited collection of perspectives on Borromini’s famous Baroque church from a range of established and emerging scholars in architectural history and theory, including Werner Oechslin, Karsten Harries, Michael Hill and Lauren Jacobi amongst others.

    This book offers the reader different means of engaging with, enjoying and articulating San Carlino’s complexity, non-consensus and ambiguity. It is precisely such a unique disposition that motivates this book to explore multiple modes of architectural enquiry and delve into a series of theoretical and historiographical questions such as: why was Borromini not able to post-rationalize his architecture with his drawings? What is San Carlino’s exemplary value, and why does it continually engender exegetical and hermeneutic desire? What is the role of geometry in architecture, in history and today?

    Written for researchers, scholars and postgraduate students in architectural history and theory, the book uses San Carlino as an enigmatic centering point for a set of significant contemporary voices to explore new modes of confrontation and comparison.

    Introduction; 1: On Borromini’s drawings and “practical geometry”; 2: Toggling through San Carlino; 3: The deep structure of San Carlino; 4: Architecture, geometry, and the sacred; 5: Baroque constructive geometry?; 6: From string to volume; 7: A part of the whole; 8: San Carlino as Surface; 9: The Xenophora Principle; Conclusion


    Adil Mansure is an architect, writer and educator based in Toronto. He has taught studios and seminars based on his research at the University of Toronto, OCAD University and the University at Buffalo. He has practiced in New York, Toronto and Bombay. He holds degrees from the University of Cambridge, Yale University and Mumbai University.

    Skender Luarasi is an architect and writer. Luarasi has presented his research in numerous ACSA conferences and has published in Haecceity, A+P Forum and other journals. He holds a Master of Architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Wentworth Institute of Technology. He is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Research and Development at Polis University in Tirana, Albania.

    'Finding San Carlino adds substantially to the understanding of Borromini’s iconic masterpiece while signposting new terrain in the ever elusive phenomenal experience of geometry and proportionality.' - John Abell, Associate Professor, Architecture, Washington State University, USA

    'A polyhedric masterpiece scrutinized through a kaleidescopic lens.' - Joseph Connors, Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University, USA

    ‘The nuanced writing and analysis of Adil Mansure and Skender Luarasi’s Finding San Carlino offers a wealth of new insight into Borromini’s masterwork. While the book can be savoured as a fundamental historical reference, it also has a striking resonance with the deeply interwoven geometries and complex systems of today’s changing world. The writing retraces original models and drawings and combines this with acute observation of tangible spaces in the immersive interior and iconic dome exterior, and with wide-ranging examination of the philosophy, cultural history and politics surrounding the project. This generous portrait of the building evokes constantly-shifting creativity and intelligence, testifies to the fundamental depth and contemporary relevance of this extraordinary work of architecture.’ - Philip Beesley, Professor of Architecture, University of Waterloo, Canada