Finding harmony in chaos: The role of the golden rectangle in deconstructive architecture

Luai Aljubori, Chaham Alalouch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


It is generally accepted that compositions in deconstructive architecture are irrational, fragmented, and do not follow proportional systems or principles of architecture, such as harmony, continuity, and unity. These compositions are understood as the result of compilations of random geometries that are often non-rectilinear, distorted, and displaced. In spite of this, deconstructive architecture is widely accepted and practiced in the last couple of decades. On the other hand, geometrical proportions have long been considered as a self-guided method of aesthetically proven designs. This paper examines the hypothesis that the golden rectangle as a proportional system is manifested, to a varying degree, in deconstructive architecture. Methodologically, the hypothesis was tested using two inter-related methods. First, Tension Points of three famous examples of deconstructivist architecture were identified using the Delphi method by a panel of experts. Second, a matrix of displaced golden rectangles was used to test the degree of correspondence between the tension points of the case studies and the golden rectangle. It was found that deconstructive architecture is not a type of "free-form" architecture; and that conventional proportional systems and aesthetics laws, such as the golden ratio, are partially manifested in its compositions and forms, thus confirming the hypothesis. This paper argues that since architects are trained to capture proportional systems and design according to certain organizational and proportional principles, this would inevitably be consciously or unconsciously reflected on their designs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-205
Number of pages23
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Architectural design
  • Deconstructivist architecture
  • Geometry
  • Golden ratio
  • Golden rectangle
  • Proportional systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Urban Studies


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