The Golden Mean in West University Place Homes

Thanks again to my friend Mallory Agerton, for explaining why West University Place homes are pleasing to the eye.  Turns out, our architecture conforms to classical (and artistic) proportions!

 "What is the secret ingredient in a West U Bungalow?

(Hint: You studied about its creator as a kid in math class and probably didn’t even know it!)

There is something delightfully charming about the older West U brick bungalows.  As an artist, I find them beautifully proportioned. Frequently the craftsmen who built and designed them followed the proportions of the Golden Mean, a ratio discovered by Pythagoras and used extensively in the Parthenon and many other famous buildings.  The Golden Mean is the ratio of 1 to approximately 1.618   I have done a little sketch of the house across the street showing how often the Golden Mean is used in its design. To do the sketch I used a tool called Golden Mean calipers, which divide distances in a ratio of 1 to 1.618. However when I am out for my morning walk I don’t actually perform calculations to decide if a house is pleasing, I just notice that it feels right.  So the next time you are out for a brisk walk this fall, I hope you will appreciate the classic brick bungalows on your block.

In the sketch, I have labeled four places the Golden Mean occurs. The lengths corresponding to “A” are 1.618 times longer than the lengths corresponding to “B”. These places are:

  • Length of roofline to total height of the house
  • Width of upper left window to height of window
  • Division of roof horizontally by center peak of front porch over front door (This occurs often in bungalows in the placement of a front porch in an asymmetrical design.)"

Mallory Agerton, Mallory Agerton Fine Art