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Arches in 3s

Posted by Cecilia Walker on

My passion for architecture started at a young age, fueled by my parents and our travels during my childhood.  In college, my favorite classes in my Art History major were those on architecture, and one of my biggest regrets is not enrolling in an Architecture program.  I love the history of a building, its aesthetics, location, materials, construction, its layout and floor plans.

One of the earliest theories about architecture is based on 3 principles (quoted from Wikipedia):

The earliest surviving written work on the subject of architecture is De architectura, by the Roman architect Vitruvius in the early 1st century CE.¹ According to Vitruvius, a good building should satisfy the three principles of firmitas, utilitas, venustas,² ³ which translate roughly as –

    • Durability – it should stand up robustly and remain in good condition.
    • Utility – it should be useful and function well for the people using it
    • Beauty – it should delight people and raise their spirits

I find such beauty in arches, and the proportion of three in a structure.

photo by Sam Gray


 A Florida residence from the portfolio of interior design firm, Gauthier-Stacy.

photo by Dan Forer


The interior of a 1920s home in Palm Beach, Florida (above), and its exterior (below).


photo by Dan Forer


photo by Mary E. Nichols


 The three arches photographed are actually part of a series of five arches which open up an incredible view of the infinity pool and the ocean at Cher’s residence in Malibu.


Photo by Robert Reck


 An updated 19th-century palace in Marrakech has a view through arches to the interior courtyard, and the series of arches atop the house on the observation pavilion.

 Lastly, a villa on Indian Creek Island, Florida:

photo by Billy Cunningham


 Even more stunning is the ceiling!

photo by Billy Cunningham

 A few groupings of arches in threes.


 photos:  courtesy of Gauthier-Stacy and Sam Gray Photography;  all others via Architectural Digest.com

Wikipedia Resources: 

¹D. Rowland – T.N. Howe: Vitruvius. Ten Books on Architecture. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1999, ISBN 0-521-00292-3

²Translated by Henry Wotton, in 1624, as “firmness, commodity and delight” [1]

³ “Vitruvius”. Penelope.uchicago.edu. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/L/Roman/Texts/Vitruvius/home.html. Retrieved 2011-07-02.

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