The figure of the human body has been inscribed on building surfaces from the very beginnings of architecture. The Athenians supported the entablature of their Erechtheion on the sculpted bodies of women and modeled their architectural orders on men, matrons, and maidens. The plan of major religious Christian buildings often integrated the body of Christ—consider thirteenth-century French master builder Villard de Honnecourt’s overlay of Christ’s body on the plan of the Reims cathedral, or Leonardo da Vinci’s inscription of a man with outstretched limbs in the center of the circled square in the Renaissance. Historian Joseph Rykwert’s search for metaphors of the body led him to the very origins of Western architecture, finding evidence in the form of columns.1 Body and Building, a collection of essays dedicated to Rykwert, revealed how the body metaphor has woven its way through architectural thought over the centuries.2 The body is no less present in the Modern era. Measured, mapped, traced, and ergonomically codified, the human body was pressed into the service of
Published on Oct 20, 2011
Over the last few decades, a rich and increasingly diverse practice has emerged in the art world that invites the public to touch, enter, an...