Scale: Imagination, Perception and Practice in Architecture, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover


Imagination, Perception and Practice in Architecture, 1st Edition

Edited by Gerald Adler, Timothy Brittain-Catlin, Gordana Fontana-Giusti


242 pages

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Scale is a word which underlies much of architectural and urban design practice, its history and theory, and its technology. Its connotations have traditionally been linked with the humanities, in the sense of relating to human societies and to human form. ‘To build in scale’ is an aspiration that is usually taken for granted by most of those involved in architectural production, as well as by members of the public; yet in a world where value systems of all kinds are being questioned, the term has come under renewed scrutiny. The older, more particular, meanings in the humanities, pertaining to classical Western culture, are where the sense of scale often resides in cultural production.

Scale may be traced back, ultimately, to the discovery of musical harmonies, and in the arithmetic proportional relationship of the building to its parts. One might question the continued relevance of this understanding of scale in the global world of today. What, in other words, is culturally specific about scale? And what does scale mean in a world where an intuitive, visual understanding is often undermined or superseded by other senses, or by hyper-reality? Structured thematically in three parts, this book addresses various issues of scale. The book includes an introduction which sets the scene in terms of current architectural discourse and also contains a visual essay in each section. It is of interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students, academics and practitioners in architecture and architectural theory as well as to students in a range of other disciplines including art history and theory, geography, anthropology and landscape architecture.


“Like so many Routledge academic publications, it mines a seam of thought from the edges of accepted discourse. Its wider understandings of the term ‘scale’ stray intelligently into territories beyond conventional architectural thinking.”

– RIBA Journal

Table of Contents

Introduction Gerald Adler Excursus 1: Surface Scale in Hackney Natalie Rosencwaig Part 1: Scale Before the Twentieth Century Gerald Adler 1. The Role of Small Scale Images by Wenceslaus Hollar in the Rebuilding of London in the Late Seventeenth Century Gordana Fontana-Giusti 2. Mildendo and Masdar: A Tale of Two Cities Adam Sharr 3. ‘Examining the Knots…Counting the Bricks’: John Ruskin’s Innocent Eye Stephen Kite 4. The Worm’s Eye as a Measure of Man: Axonometry in Architectural Representation Hilary Bryon Excursus 2: Scale and Tabula Rasa Natalie de Vries Part 2: Scale in Art and Perception 5. Colour Scales Fay Zika 6. Scales of Interaction: Aligning the Qualitative with the Quantitative in Music and Architecture Fiona Smyth 7. Mind-Building, Adrian Stokes, Scale and Psychoanalysis Janet Sayers 8. Sublime Indifference Helen Mallinson 9. Measuring Up: Measurement and Scale in Conceptual Art Elise Noyez 10.Scaling Haptics – Haptic Scaling: Studying Scale and Scaling in the Haptic Design Process of Two Architects who Lost their Sight Peter-Willem Vermeersch and Ann Heylighen 11. Scale Adjustment in Architecture and Music Richard Coyne Excursus 3: Domestic Scale in Oxford Igea Troiani Part 3: Scale in the Twentieth Century 12. Thos Logos Pathos: Architects and their Chairs Jonathan Foote 13. ‘Halfway between the Electron and the Universe’: Doxiadis and the Delos Symposia Simon Richards 14. Little Boxes Gerald Adler 15. Scale and Identity in the Housing Projects of Coderch Michael Pike 16. The Politics of Scale in the Architecture of Brodsky and Utkin Michael Ostwald

About the Editors

Gerald Adler runs the BA (Hons) Architecture programme at the Kent School of Architecture, University of Kent, UK, where he is Deputy Head of School.

Timothy Brittain-Catlin is Senior Lecturer at the Kent School of Architecture.

Gordana Fontana-Giusti is an architect specialising in architectural theory who has been involved in establishing postgraduate studies and research at the Kent School of Architecture.

The editors are members of CREAte, the Centre for Research in European Architecture at the Kent School of Architecture.

About the Series


Critical Studies in Architectural Humanities
Critiques is the book series of the AHRA – Architectural Humanities Research Association. Originally established in 2003 AHRA supports and disseminates interdisciplinary scholarship in all areas under the broad heading of architectural humanities, including architectural history, theory, culture, design and urbanism.

This original series of edited books contains selections of essays developed from the best papers presented at the annual AHRA International Conferences. Each year the event has a particular thematic focus while sharing an emphasis on new and emerging areas of critical research. Recent interdisciplinary areas addressed include urban studies, spatial politics, anthropology, exhibitions and representation.

To find out more about AHRA activities including the themes to be addressed in forthcoming conferences please follow the link below:

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Study & Teaching