### Abstract

Original language | English |
---|---|

Pages (from-to) | 149-156 |

Number of pages | 8 |

Journal | Architectural Theory Review |

Volume | 15 |

Issue number | 2 |

DOIs | |

Publication status | Published - 2010 |

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### Cite this

*Architectural Theory Review*,

*15*(2), 149-156. https://doi.org/10.1080/13264826.2010.495449

}

*Architectural Theory Review*, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 149-156. https://doi.org/10.1080/13264826.2010.495449

**Forgetting matter: Pascal on rhetoric and the mathematics of the ideal villa.** / Frith, Stephen.

Research output: Contribution to journal › Article

TY - JOUR

T1 - Forgetting matter: Pascal on rhetoric and the mathematics of the ideal villa

AU - Frith, Stephen

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - The tension between geometry and matter, and so between geometry and architecture, has a long philosophical history. This paper traces part of that history, interwoven with the history of rhetoric, where geometry takes on three major roles, as in Robin Evans’ account of that history in his book, The Projective Cast, Architecture and its Three Geometries. More instrumentally, and in Colin Rowe’s essay, ‘The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa’ (1947), draws comparisons between the use of geometry in the work of Palladio and of Le Corbusier. This paper argues that Evans’ final category a ‘signified geometry’, one dependent on its metaphoric properties, is most evidently seen in the writings of Blaise Pascal. In 1657 or 1658, Pascal wrote two short treatises on the rhetorical function of geometry titled De l’esprit géométrique, and L’Art de persuasion. Geometry becomes seen as a species of rhetoric where geometry and rhetoric are paired, but where matter tends to be forgotten. In these writings, Pascal burdens geometry with the demand that the truth of matter be articulate, and persuasively demonstrated. He argued that geometry ‘has explained the art of discovering unknown truths,’ and further, that through geometry the demonstration and proof of truth is ‘invincible [. . .] for this I only have to explain the method that geometry employs; for it teaches it perfectly by its examples.

AB - The tension between geometry and matter, and so between geometry and architecture, has a long philosophical history. This paper traces part of that history, interwoven with the history of rhetoric, where geometry takes on three major roles, as in Robin Evans’ account of that history in his book, The Projective Cast, Architecture and its Three Geometries. More instrumentally, and in Colin Rowe’s essay, ‘The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa’ (1947), draws comparisons between the use of geometry in the work of Palladio and of Le Corbusier. This paper argues that Evans’ final category a ‘signified geometry’, one dependent on its metaphoric properties, is most evidently seen in the writings of Blaise Pascal. In 1657 or 1658, Pascal wrote two short treatises on the rhetorical function of geometry titled De l’esprit géométrique, and L’Art de persuasion. Geometry becomes seen as a species of rhetoric where geometry and rhetoric are paired, but where matter tends to be forgotten. In these writings, Pascal burdens geometry with the demand that the truth of matter be articulate, and persuasively demonstrated. He argued that geometry ‘has explained the art of discovering unknown truths,’ and further, that through geometry the demonstration and proof of truth is ‘invincible [. . .] for this I only have to explain the method that geometry employs; for it teaches it perfectly by its examples.

U2 - 10.1080/13264826.2010.495449

DO - 10.1080/13264826.2010.495449

M3 - Article

VL - 15

SP - 149

EP - 156

JO - Architectural Theory Review

JF - Architectural Theory Review

SN - 1326-4826

IS - 2

ER -