Finding San Carlino: Collected Perspectives on the Geometry of the Baroque, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Finding San Carlino

Collected Perspectives on the Geometry of the Baroque, 1st Edition

Edited by Adil Mansure, Skender Luarasi


216 pages | 40 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138313002
pub: 2020-02-01
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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 delves 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.’


'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’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, University of Waterloo, Canada

Table of Contents

Foreword, Mark Jarzombek. Introduction: After San Carlino, Adil Mansure and Skender Luarasi 1. On Borromini’s Drawings and ‘Practical Geometry’, Werner Oechslin. 2. Toggling through San Carlino: A Speculative Inquiry into Geometry and Process in San Carlino and its Interpretations in History, Skender Luarasi. 3. The Deep Structure of San Carlino, John Hendrix. 4. Architecture, Geometry, and the Sacred. Karsten Harries. 5. Baroque Constructive Geometry?: Borromini`s Design for the Elevation at San Carlino, Jonathan Hale. 6. From String to Volume, Karl Daubmann and Lauren Jacobi. 7. A part of the whole: the Crucifix Chapel in San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Michael Hill. 8. San Carlino as Surface, Adil Mansure. 9. The Xenophora Principle: Finding San Carlino…. In a Shell, Niklas Maak. Conclusion: The Future Pasts of San Carlino, Adil Mansure and Skender Luarasi

About the Editors

Adil Mansure is an architect, educator and researcher. He attended Yale University’s school of architecture and earned a Post-Professional Masters in Architecture. He has taught at the University at Buffalo and at the University of Toronto, where he continues to teach studios and seminars. His recent pursuits include Finding San Carlino, Proto-histories of the Architectural Para-Metric, Surface, and The Architecture of Cliches.

Skender Luarasi is an architect and Ph. D. Candidate at Yale School of Architecture. His research investigates the relationship of geometry and architecture. Luarasi has presented his research at numerous ACSA conferences and symposiums, and has published in several journals.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Architectural History

Books in this series look in detail at aspects of architectural history from an academic viewpoint.  Written by international experts, the volumes cover a range of topics from the origins of building types, the relationship of architectural designs to their sites, explorations of the works of specific architects, to the development of tools and design processes, and beyond.  Written for the researcher and scholar, we are looking for innovative research to join our publications in architectural history.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Design, Drafting, Drawing & Presentation
ARCHITECTURE / History / Baroque & Rococo
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / Religious