Scale is a word which underlies much of architectural and urban design practice, its history and theory, and its technology. Its connotations have traditionally been linked with the humanities, in the sense of relating to human societies and to human form. ‘To build in scale’ is an aspiration that is usually taken for granted by most of those involved in architectural production, as well as by members of the public; yet in a world where value systems of all kinds are being questioned, the term has come under renewed scrutiny. The older, more particular, meanings in the humanities, pertaining to classical Western culture, are where the sense of scale often resides in cultural production.

Scale may be traced back, ultimately, to the discovery of musical harmonies, and in the arithmetic proportional relationship of the building to its parts. One might question the continued relevance of this understanding of scale in the global world of today. What, in other words, is culturally specific about scale? And what does scale mean in a world where an intuitive, visual understanding is often undermined or superseded by other senses, or by hyper-reality? Structured thematically in three parts, this book addresses various issues of scale. The book includes an introduction which sets the scene in terms of current architectural discourse and also contains a visual essay in each section. It is of interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students, academics and practitioners in architecture and architectural theory as well as to students in a range of other disciplines including art history and theory, geography, anthropology and landscape architecture.

chapter |10 pages


ByGerald Adler

chapter 1|8 pages

The scale of the detail

ByMichel da Costa Gonçalves, Nathalie Rozencwajg

part 1|45 pages

Scale before the twentieth century

chapter |13 pages

The role of small-scale images by Wenceslaus Hollar

The rebuilding of London in the late seventeenth century
ByGordana Fontana-Giusti

chapter |9 pages

Mildendo and Masdar

A tale of two cities
ByAdam Sharr

chapter |11 pages

‘Examining the knots … counting the bricks'

John Ruskin's innocent eye
ByStephen Kite

chapter |11 pages

The worm's eye as a measure of man

Choisy's development of axonometry in architectural representation
ByHilary Bryon

chapter 2|12 pages

Scale in recent projects by MVRDV

ByNathalie de Vries

part 2|69 pages

Scale in art and perception

chapter |9 pages

Colour scales

ByFay Zika

chapter |11 pages

Scales of interaction

Aligning the qualitative with the quantitative in music and architecture
ByFiona Smyth

chapter |8 pages

Architectural scale

Psychoanalysis and Adrian Stokes
ByJanet Sayers

chapter |10 pages

Sublime indifference

ByHelen Mallinson

chapter |10 pages

Measuring up

Measurement pieces and the redefinition of scale in conceptual art
ByElise Noyez

chapter |9 pages

Scaling haptics – haptic scaling

Studying scale and scaling in the haptic design process of two architects who lost their sight
ByPeter-Willem Vermeersch, Ann Heylighen

chapter |11 pages

Scale adjustment in architecture and music

ByRichard Coyne

chapter 3|10 pages

Complex ordinariness in Oxford

‘House after Two Years of Living'
ByIgea Troiani

part 3|60 pages

Scale in the twentieth century and beyond

chapter |11 pages

Ethos pathos logos

Architects and their chairs
ByJonathan Foote

chapter |12 pages

‘Halfway between the electron and the universe'

Doxiadis and the Delos Symposia
BySimon Richards

chapter |12 pages

Little boxes

ByGerald Adler

chapter |12 pages

Scale and identity in the housing projects of Coderch

ByMichael Pike

chapter |12 pages

Politics and the deliquescence of scale

The Columbaria of Brodsky and Utkin
ByMichael J. Ostwald