School of Architecture
University of Hawaii at Manoa
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Rudolph Schindler's buildings are recognized as icons of twentieth-century design. Less well known is Schindler's synergetic design method, which combines a specifc compositional sensibility with the practicalities of physical construction. His philosophy that "form conceived by the human mind is always founded on geometrical figures" implies that architecture begins with thinking about and reasonin with the building, shaping, and feeling it in the mind as a structure based on geometric laws.
Schindler used two basic geometric shapes in the Packard House, the square and the equilateral triangle. Where the triangle is a pro-generative device used to determine the shape of the house, the square is a proportional tool used for scalar measures of facades and plans. Thus the square grid applied to a three-dimensional building takes the form of a regular proportioning system, although it remains invisible in the building itself.
It is truly a shame that the Packard House was not preserved. Fortunately the original idea expressed in the house will remain appreciated, underscoring Schindler's metaphysical conception of immaterial eternity. Schindler wrote, "Essential parts [built] for eternity [do] not mean durable material but the eternal conception of room." For Schindler, the quest of the architectural process is to build something tangible out of a mental conception. Through his legacy, a genesis of triangular geometry in architectur lives on.
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The correct citation for this paper is:
Jin-Ho Park, "Triangular Geometry in Rudolph Schindler's Packard House of 1924", pp. 131-142 in Nexus V: Architecture and Mathematics, ed. Kim Williams and Francisco Delgado Cepeda, Fucecchio (Florence): Kim Williams Books, 2004.
Jin-Ho Park - Triangular Geometry in Rudolph Schindler's Packard House of 1924