When roaming the cities with your camera, the triangular and rectangular shapes, diagonals, planes and facades fill your viewfinder. How to choose, what to incorporate in your image?
“Geometric: resembling or using the simple rectilinear or curvilinear lines used in geometry.” -- the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa)/ New York --
For getting a good composition to work or take pictures in cramped spaces like historic city centres or interiors, it takes some geometric spatial awareness.
“A painter hoping to represent the choppy ocean surface can hardly settle for a regular array of scalloped brush strokes, but somehow must suggest waves on a multiplicity of scales. A scientist puts aside an unconscious bias toward smooth Euclidean shapes and linear calculations. An urban planner or architect learns that the best cities grow dynamically, not neatly, into complex, jagged, interwoven networks, with different kinds of housing and different kinds of economic uses all jumbled together.”
As an architect or urban planner, you don’t always have the time to allow organic growth, interventions have to be made and then understanding urban geometry is key. For instance, as streets covers around a quarter of urban areas, designing streets is a key issue in a global approach for an environmental urban design. The geometry of streets, buildings and orientation directly influence the airflow and solar access in those streets and therefore thermal comfort at pedestrian level.
Geometry, for some it was the most pointless form of math ever devised. It involves shapes, planes and lines and lots of proofs where you have to visualize and draw all of them in three dimensions, in a cube. For most it has no real use, although teachers like to say it does.
But if you want to make good architecture or even a good photograph in (old) city centres, urban geometry has to be your daily bread and butter.