Thursday, May 3, 2018

Yoga & Mathematics | Claude Bragdon

From "Four Dimensional Vistas"

About two years ago I encountered the unusual work of Claude Fayette Bragdon (1866-1946). The American architect/polymath was involved with organic architecture in the tradition of Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan but his work went beyond architecture, enmeshed with mathematics, spirituality and Eastern traditions. He was very interested in the hypercube and higher dimensional space which were incorporated in the ornaments of his architectural designs.
    Bragdon created a vocabulary of patterns based on geometry and nature, discussed in his book Projective Ornament (1915). In contemporary terms "projective ornament" can be defined as an algorithmic parametric design.
    The topics of Bragdon's books are quite diverse, ranging from architecture to mathematics and yoga. Beside Projective Ornament he authored and published The Beautiful Necessity (1910), Architecture and Democracy (1918), The Frozen Fountain (1932),  c (1930), An Introduction to Yoga (1933)
   I was fascinated by his studies and illustrations of four-dimensional geometry and the Platonic solids, which were depicted also as ornaments. But perhaps the most intriguing image as related to my own research is the illustration above, from the front matter of Four Dimensional Vistas: a Buddha inspired figure in the lotus pose inscribe in a dodecahedron.

From "Projective Ornament"