Heterodoxia Architectonica, the treatise being written primarily by Andrés Duany and whose text I am penciling my way through as text editor, contains material that has been made public only in dribs and drabs, mostly pictorial. Its author has over several years hinted in his, um, discourse at the eventual content of the document, although an exegesis of his remarks can be assembled to support almost any contentious presumption about what Heterodoxia might ultimately contain. I know. I’ve assembled not a few of them myself.
Completely out of left field, however, comes this luscious descriptive passage on the behavior of the Corinthian capital as it performs its duty, that of a tool to enable the transfer of tectonic energy from the act of bearing to the act of spanning. Andrés has let me print this passage as a sort of teaser. My idea. I once used a low phrase for this kind of writing that thrills me, but that term falls beneath the dignity of a treatise in the manner of Vitruvius, Palladio, etc., and I will not repeat its use here. No. This is poetry:
The existence of the Corinthian capital is essential to turning the inside corner [of a peripteral portico], which is impossible with the Doric. The Doric is swallowed by the mass of the colliding entablature and reduced to an oval herniation, while the abacus of its capital seems beset by the architrave above it. The Ionic, on the other hand, is unresolvable at an inside corner. It becomes crushed in the most revolting manner. The Corinthian, however, emerges triumphantly to support the corner of the abacus. The diagonal outward reach of the Corinthian makes it the only capital available to enable the hyper-compact echeloning of Orders that is sometimes required for syntactic intensification, or for the resolution of a complex Baroque dome bearing down. Whereas the circular arc of the Doric capital would be subsumed by the wall, the diagonal volute of the Corinthian reaches out of the wall to assert itself. And, as for the Ionic — it simply cannot turn an inside corner; it would be engulfed in an unresolved manner.