A computer program has been devised for analysis of proportional design in architecture and has been applied to the church of the Cistercian abbey of Ebrach, Franconia, using detailed survey measurements. Reference for this is a coefficient base of over a thousand proportions of numbers and geometric figures. The investigation has clarified the essential methodological principles for analysis of building geometry including coincidences and ambiguities of proportions, their interaction with the basic uncertainty of measurement, the interdependence between structural reference levels in the building, and the mixing of intention, collateral, and accidental relations. The program has decoded the design of part of the church and its system of measurements showing their proportions to be based on geometrical figures of polygons. The principal measurements were found to represent the sides of these polygons, and their reference, the radius of construction. Most other measurements were derived by systematic division or multiplication of the principal ones, frequently by use of the quadratura. Results also permit conclusions about precision of construction and the role of foot measurements.
- Copyright 1994 The Society of Architectural Historians