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This Old Firehouse
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This is an elegant and profound homage to the discipline of descriptive geometry. Sterile classroom lectures on the subject have long been the bane of engineering and architecture students and now it is widely thought that CAD (computer-aided design) may be giving the coup de grA ce to this special branch of geometry. And yet modern graphics techniques are unthinkable today without the foundation that descriptive geometry provides. The author traces the discipline's evolution from the 16th through to the 19th century, starting with an examination of how it served the early art of stone-cutting, and moving on to studying its relationship to pure geometry and its curricular importance to the Ecole Polytechnique established by the National Convention. Descriptive geometry is the point of juncture between the theoretical and the practical, between thought and action. A knowing and expansive selection of architectural drawings demonstrates this beautifully throughout the work. The drawings are the readable imprints of man's three-dimensional imagination; the maps which give us the wherewithal to turn the space he invents into physical reality.
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