Infinite Measure

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$45.00 U.S.
Softcover with flaps and sewn binding
400 pages with 430 illustrations
8.09″ x 10.0″ upright/portrait
ISBN: 978-1–938086–02–1
2013
Published by GTF Publishing
Distributed by International Publishers Marketing
Harmony by Design included FREE with online purchase ($11.95 value)


ABOUT THE BOOK

Infinite Measure, Learning to Design in Geometric Harmony with Art, Architecture, and Nature is both a creative workbook and an authoritative reference guide for teachers, students, and practitioners of design, including architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, painting, sculpture, the graphic arts, theater and stage design, and even musical instruments and crafts. Taking pages from books of nature, art, and architecture, Fletcher provides visual designers of all art forms and disciplines with geometric methods for composing harmonious spaces and places.

In Infinite Measure, Fletcher shares her professional knowledge and experience of geometry and proportion by offering practical techniques for design applications, including step-by-step elementary and advanced drawings for producing proportional schemes with a compass and rule; commentaries on geometric symbols and useful theorems; definitions; and etymologies of essential mathematical terms. A highlight of the book are Fletcher’s original studies that analyze harmonious proportions in world-famous art, architecture, landscape design, and other compositions. These include the South Rose Window at Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, Andrea Palladio’s Villa Emo and Teatro Olimpico, a Stradivari violin, Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, Beatrix Farrand’s garden courtyard for the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, the illuminated Lindisfarne Gospels, a Louis Sullivan stencil for the Chicago Stock Exchange, and Eero Saarinen’s North Christian Church.

The desire for harmony is universal among all cultures. In Infinite Measure, we rediscover a fundamental starting point for designers of all ages and skills: the simple act of drawing with a compass and a rule, as Frank Lloyd Wright famously taught his architecture students, can sensitize the designer to the rich subtleties of spatial harmony and proportion, no matter how one ultimately chooses to express it.

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK

Nominated for a 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award.

“Rachel Fletcher’s new publication, Infinite Measure, is a wide-ranging book that defines geometry’s presence in the natural world, tracks the history and evolution of geometry from before the classical period through to the present day and presents a comprehensive and impressive body of knowledge simultaneously philosophical and practical. It explains the grammar of geometrical construction, from the initial simplicity and unity of the circle, through gradually more complex constructions that lead ultimately to sophisticated geometrical overlays defining proportional relationships in the natural and built environments. The emphasis throughout is on proportion and how the individual elements of a design should relate to one other, and to the whole, in a proportionate and visually harmonious way.” “…a comprehensive geometrical journey under enlightened guidance. This is an impressive book that presents extensive scholarship in a completely reader-friendly way.”
—Laurie Smith, artist and graphic designer, UK, from his review in Timber Framing (See full review)

“The book will surely be appreciated by those architects and architecture historians interested in the relationship between architecture and mathematics, whose research is devoted to the study of geometrical diagrams and patterns of architecture of the past. We know from the historical literature that architects relied on chosen numbers, proportional ratios and chosen shapes to impart beauty and harmony to their projects, because the mathematicians themselves considered these numbers, ratios and shapes to be beautiful, meaningful and symbolic. Nevertheless architectural treatises hardly give any practical indications on how to manipulate these mathematical objects in order to achieve the fixed goals. The book Infinite Measure unveils many clues to the process of creating a geometrical pattern. The multiple constructions, the number of variations, the creativity, the infinite possibilities, will inspire researchers and, hopefully, designers.”
—Sylvie Duvernoy, from her review in Nexus Network Journal, March 2015

“Rachel Fletcher has written the definitive book on proportion as the design principle upon which most design principles and elements rest. When students and practitioners can master and absorb the import of this root principle through study, exploration, and experience, they are able to express themselves with a sense of assurance and command as rising designers, artists, and critics. I am an admirer of Rachel Fletcher and believe that this elegant, useful, and authoritative text should become intregral to every design curriculum.”
—Dr. Ellen S. Fisher, ASID, IPEC, NYS-CID, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, New York School of Interior Design

“Infinite Measure by Rachel Fletcher is a fascinating book teaching artists how to design in geometric harmony with art, architecture, and nature. The discussion is based on the ancient knowledge that symmetry and proportion are evident in every form of nature and these are relational. The same geometric figures can be found (and are often quite obvious) throughout the history of all art objects, including architecture, pottery, design, paintings, etc. The ratios of dynamic symmetry, which are mathematically expressed, are the basis of the drawing exercises in this book and red bullets indicate each step. The book sound complicated because it dissects and explains almost everything you can think of, but the excellent teaching walks the student through each step until a thorough understanding enables intelligent design in any medium. This book should be a MUST for any art student, and you will feel satisfied when you gain this valuable, timeless understanding, which opens your eyes and mind to all you see everywhere. EXCELLENT!!!”
—Bonnie Neely, from her five-star book review for Amazon

“Geometry has always been the basis for creating beautiful art and architecture, but the methods used by the ancients have been a bit difficult to grasp. Rachel Fletcher sweeps away that problem with easy-to-understand explanations and examples in her new book. I had nearly reached the point of exasperation, struggling to understand Dynamic Symmetry and the use of compass and ruler to divide an area, when along came this book and made it all much easier to comprehend and use. For photographers and graphic artists, this book is particularly helpful, as it provides methods to organize the ‘canvas’ and align objects in an appealing manner. The methods explained by Fletcher will become part of your standard workflow. Highly recommended!”
—Michael G. Smith, Photographer, Detroit, from his five-star book review for Amazon

Infinite Measure: Learning to Design in Geometric Harmony with Art, Architecture, and Nature is a 400-page compendium in which geometer and theater designer Rachel Fletcher (New York School of interior Design) provides visual designers of all disciplines and art forms with geometric methods and techniques for composing spaces and places harmoniously. Organized into two major sections (‘Geometry’s Shapes’ and ‘Symbols & Composing Space Plans’), readers are presented with a wealth of diagrams illustrating geometric design concepts of balance and proportion. A unique work of impressive scholarship, Infinite Measure: Learning to Design in Geometric Harmony with Art, Architecture, and Nature is an important and strongly recommended addition to professional and academic library collections as well as the supplemental reading lists for art and architecture students.”
—James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review

“It may seem anachronistic to introduce a new book about the ancient science of geometry for design at a time when so many computer applications apply geometry automatically without the designer having to think about it, but it is precisely one of the contradictory characteristics of our world today that makes Rachel Fletcher’s book so relevant and necessary. What Fletcher does in this elegant, thoughtful, and practical book is to guide the reader to a knowledge and understanding of how geometry works for the designer. Specifically, she reveals design truths that are inherent in the use and movements of the compass and straight-edge rule in order to open all possible doors for the designer’s creativity. What she knows is not old or arcane knowledge but timeless geometrical facts that are as fresh today as they were when scratched in sand or on parchment hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. The author’s unique capacity to explain the necessary geometric principles of proportion and harmony in a clear, step-by-step way is accompanied by her gentle manner of staying ‘off the page’ so that the geometry, and not the geometer, becomes the leading character. Whether the reader’s aim is to understand the great works of art, architecture, landscape, and other designs of the past or to create new works that express contemporary aesthetics, this book provides a fundamental and inspirational starting point.”
—Kim Williams, Editor-in-Chief, Nexus Network Journal, Torino, Italy

Temple of Theseus

Eastern front elevation,
c. 449 BCE

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James Stuart and Nicholas Revett,
The Antiquities of Athens, Vol 3, 1794

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