Luai Aljubori, Chaham Alalouch



It is generally accepted that compositions in deconstructive architecture are irrational, fragmented, and do not follow proportional systems or principles of architecture, such as harmony, continuity, and unity. These compositions are understood as the result of compilations of random geometries that are often non-rectilinear, distorted, and displaced. In spite of this, deconstructive architecture is widely accepted and practiced in the last couple of decades. On the other hand, geometrical proportions have long been considered as a self-guided method of aesthetically proven designs. This paper examines the hypothesis that the golden rectangle as a proportional system is manifested, to a varying degree, in deconstructive architecture. Methodologically, the hypothesis was tested using two inter-related methods. First, Tension Points of three famous examples of deconstructivist architecture were identified using the Delphi method by a panel of experts. Second, a matrix of displaced golden rectangles was used to test the degree of correspondence between the tension points of the case studies and the golden rectangle. It was found that deconstructive architecture is not a type of “free-form” architecture; and that conventional proportional systems and aesthetics laws, such as the golden ratio, are partially manifested in its compositions and forms, thus confirming the hypothesis. This paper argues that since architects are trained to capture proportional systems and design according to certain organizational and proportional principles, this would inevitably be consciously or unconsciously reflected on their designs.


deconstructivist architecture; golden ratio; golden rectangle; proportional systems; architectural design; geometry

Full Text:



Abdulrahman, A. (2010). The Development of a Performance Measurement Framework for FE/HE Co-Location Construction Projects. Edinburgh: PhD Thesis, Heriot-Watt University.

Akhtaruzzaman, M., Shafie, A., Ahsan, T., Alam, M. S., Raihan, S. M., Hasan, M. K., & Haider, M. B. (2011). Golden Ratio, the Phi, and Its Geometrical Substantiation: A study on the Golden Ratio, Dynamic Rectangles and Equation of Phi. IEEE Student Conference on Research and Development. Cyberjaya.

Alalouch, C. (2018). Pedagogical approach to integrate parametric thinking in early design studios. Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, 12 (2), 162-181.

Alalouch, C. Aspinall, P., & Smith, H. (2015). Architects’ priorities for hospital-ward design criteria: Application of choice-based conjoint analysis in architectural research. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 32(1), 1-22.

Bartoli, M. T. (2004). The Sequence of Fibonacci and the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence. In K. Williams, & F. D. Cepeda, Nexus V: Architecture and Mathematics from Antiquity to the Future (pp. 31-42). Fucecchio (Florence): Kim Williams Books.

Dabbour, L. M. (2012). Geometric proportions: The underlying structure of design process for Islamic geometric patterns. Frontiers of Architectural Research, 1 (4), 380–391.

Doczi, G. (2005). The Power of Limits: Proportional Harmonies in Nature. Boston: Shambhala.

Durmus, S., & Gur, S. O. (2011). Methodology of Deconstruction in Architectural Education. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 1586–1594.

Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. (2011). Tension. Retrieved July 19, 2017, from Encyclopedia Britannica:

Elam, K. (2011). Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Fechner, G. (1865). Uber die Frage des goldenen Schnittes [On the question of the golden section]. Archiv fur die zeichnenden Kunste, 11, 100-112.

Fechner, G. (1876). Vorschule der Aesthetik [Experimental aesthetics]. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Haertel.

Fechner, G., & Höge, H. (1997). Various attempts to establish a basic form of beauty: Experimental aesthetics, golden section, and square. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 15(2), 115–130.

Fennel, J. (2009). Visual Tension = Vital Energy. Retrieved July 19, 2017, from Vision Thing:

Frampton, K. (2007). Modern Architecture: A Critical History (4 edition). London: Thames & Hudson.

Frings, M. (2002). The Golden Section in Architectural Theory. Nexus Network Journal, 4(3), 9-23.

Gailiunas, P. (2015). The Golden Spiral: The Genesis of a Misunderstanding. Proceedings of Bridges 2015: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture, (pp. 159–166). Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Green, C. D. (1995). All That Glitters: A Review of Psychological Research on the Aesthetics of the Golden Section. Perception, 24(8), 937-968.

Halbe, R. (2012). Perot Museum of Nature and Science / Morphosis Architects. Retrieved July 25, 2017, from

Hong, D.-S., & Hwang, M. (2006). The Status and the Prospects of Deconstruction in Graphic Design. Design Research Society International Conference, (pp. 362-372). Lisbon.

Huntley, H. E. (1970). The divine proportion: a study in mathematical beauty. New York: Dover Publications.

Jodidio, P. (2010). Architecture Now 7. Cologne: Taschen.

Jodidio, P. (2011). New Forms: Architecture in the 1990s. Cologne: Taschen.

Jodidio, P. (2013). 100 Contemporary Architects. Cologne: Tachen.

Johnson, P., & Wigley, M. (1988). Deconstructivist Architecture. New York: The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved from

Kahn, K. B. (2006). New product forecasting: an applied approach. New York: M.E. Sharp, Inc.

Kappraff, J. (2004). Introduction: In Search of the Golden Mean. Forma, 19, 287–289.

Kapusta, J. (2004). The Square, the Circle and the Golden Proportion: A New Class of Geometrical Constructions. Forma, 19, 293–313.

Kissinger, C. E. (2012). The Role of the Golden Ratio in Greek History. Retrieved April 15, 2017, from

Lawlor, R. (1989). Sacred Geometry: Philosophy and Practice. New York: Thames and Hudson.

Marchant, P. (2013a). Proportion. In K. Azzam, Arts and Crafts of the Islamic Lands: Principles Materials Practice (pp. 34-47). London: Thames and hudson.

Marchant, P. (2013b). Order in Nature. In K. Azzam, Arts and Crafts of the Islamic Lands: Principles Materials Practice (pp. 20-33). London: Thames & Hudson.

Markowsky, G. (1992). Misconceptions about the Golden Ratio. The College Mathematics Journal, 23(1), 2-19.

Meisner, G. (2016a). Golden ratios in Great Pyramid of Giza site topography. Retrieved May 20, 2017, from

Meisner, G. (2016b). Dr. George Markowsky’s “Misconceptions about the Golden Ratio” Reviewed: Debunking the Debunkers of Golden Ratio Myths. Retrieved June 1, 2017, from

Mohtashami, N. (2016). Quantitative assessment of deconstruction buildings using a Building Deconstruction Matrix. Pacific Science Review B: Humanities and Social Sciences, 113-117.

MoMA. (1988). Deconstructivist Architecture Exhibition Fact Sheet. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from

Nabavi, F., & Ahmed, Y. (2016). Is there any Geometrical Golden Ratio in Traditional Iranian Courtyard Houses? Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, 10(1), 143-154.

Phillips, F., Norman, J. F., & Beers, A. M. (2010). Fechner’s Aesthetics Revisited. Seeing and Perceiving, 23, 263–271.

Plato. (360BCE). Timaeus. Retrieved July 16, 2017, from

Salama, A. M. (2015). Salama, A.M. (2015). Spatial Design Education: New Directions for Pedagogy in Architecture and Beyond. London, UK: Routledge.

Salama, A. M., & MacLean, L. (2017). Integrating Appreciative Inquiry (AI) into architectural pedagogy: an assessment experiment of three retrofitted buildings in the city of Glasgow. Frontiers of Architectural Research, 6(2), 169-182. DOI: 10.1016/j.foar.2017.02.001

Shekhawat, K. (2015). Why golden rectangle is used so often by architects: A mathematical approach. Alexandria Engineering Journal, 54, 213–222.

Stakhov, A., & Sluchenkova, A. (2003). Museum of Harmony and the Golden Section: Mathematical Connections in Nature, Science, and Art. Vinnitsa: ITI. Retrieved July 16, 2017, from

Valon, G. (2009). Reflections on Deconstructive Architecture. AR, 1. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from AR:

Weston, R. (2011). 100 Ideas that Changed Architecture. London: Laurence King Publishing.

Wong, J. F. (2010). The text of free-form architecture: qualitative study of the discourse of four architects. Design Studies, 31, 237-267.

Zeising, A. (1845). Neue Lehre von den Proportionen des menschlichen Korpers [The latest theory of proportions in the human body]. Leipzig: R. Weigel.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Luai Al-jubori, Chaham Alalouch

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


- ISSN (Online) #1938 7806 - ArchNet-IJAR is covered by ArchNet@ MIT Libraries, Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, EBSCO, CNKI, Pro-Quest, Scopus-Elsevier, Web of Science.

- Published work in ArchNet-IJAR is licensed under Creative Commons: CC-BY--NC-ND license, see

Copyrights © Archnet-IJAR 2007-2018


Hit Counter
Visitor Hits Since 15 Jan 2014