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Calle de Presti-Venice.jpg

From Experiencing Architecture by Steen Eiler Rasmussen

If architecture is frozen music, then rhythm has to do with the regularity or irregularity of the patterns of elements like windows, columns or beams. In Experiencing Architecture, Rasmussen says we “experience delightful examples of subtle

variation within strict regularity.” The 15th Century row houses in Venice called

Calle dei Preti (above) are a perfect example of this.


San Miniato facade.png
Spanish Steps-etching.jpg
Miami Dade CC classroom_office building-

In Rome, the Spanish Steps are a must-see. Here is how Rasmussen describes them.

“With its bends and turns it seems to have been based on an old fashioned, very ceremonial dance—the Polonaise—in  which the dancers advance four by four

in a straight line and then separate, two going to the right and two going to

the left; they turn, turn again, curtsey, meet again on the large landing,

advance together, separate once more to left and right, and finally

meet again at the topmost terrace where they turn to face the

view and see Rome lying at their feet.” The engraving by

the famous architectural illustrator, Pirenesi, shows

men and women enjoying the steps in the formal

attire worn at the time of the construction

of these monumental stairs.

San Miniato, a

church outside of

Florence, is a much less

subtle example of rhythm

enriched with geometric pattern.

The upper facade was designed and

paid for by the Florentine Cloth Merchants Guild in the 12th

century, explaining the decorative cloth-like treatment of the facade.

My first solo design as Project Manager at Ferendino, Grafton, Spillis & Candela in Coral Gables was the classroom-office building for Miami Dade Community College in 1975. The style of the design had been established by the earlier campus designer in the firm, Andy Ferendino himself. My charge was to keep the design consistent with the earlier buildings on campus. The rendering below shows that I divided the building into two halves under one roof, the right for the classrooms and the left for the offices, following the deep overhung walkways and expressed structural rhythm of similar buildings on campus. I designed the left side to express a different use inside the offices. That is where I departed from anything else on campus and introduced the vertical rhythm of sunscreens made of concrete. It was built and occupied before we moved back to Boston in 1977.

From Experiencing Architecture by Steen Eiler Rasmussen

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