Divide and win | Íñigo García Odiaga

 Iglesia de Santa Cruz de Oleiros, Miguel Fisac.
Church of Santa Cruz de Oleiros, Miguel Fisac.

There is a Latin maxim “Divide et impera”, which gave good results to the great strategists of history such as Julius Caesar or Napoleon. But this military logic is also one of the foundations of computer science and algorithmic design. A calculation methodology that faces the resolution of a complex problem by cutting it into simpler parts of the same type until the solution becomes visible and evident.

In the book that celebrates the award of the National Architecture Award in 2002 to Miguel Fisac, a plant appears that summarizes well this strategy of the division.

The always sinuous plants of the Fisac churches presented the problem of determining their exact surface. Today with the computer-aided drawing, the measurement would be accurate and fast; just an unimportant gesture. In 1966 the problem, on the other hand, became laborious and conscientious.

 Iglesia de Santa Cruz de Oleiros, Miguel Fisac.
Church of Santa Cruz de Oleiros, Miguel Fisac.

In order to calculate the square meters of pavement, Fisac grid the floor until reaching the undulating profile of the concrete walls that build the envelope of the Church of Santa Cruz de Oleiros, in a grid equivalent to 1 square meter. Then, with infinite patience, he numbered each and every one of the boxes so that, by means of this graphic integral, he could reach the conviction that the church had 595 square meters, as can be seen in the handwritten annotation at the foot of the drawing.

The fan formed by the curved, concave and convex walls embrace that surface, which, like a great military strategist, Miguel Fisac controls until his measure is fixed, and with it his proportion, and with it the beauty.

Íñigo García Odiaga. Architect
San Sebastián. January 2017

Íñigo García Odiaga

Arquitecto. Editor de NOMU. 1/5 del estudio de arquitectura VAUMM. Vivo en Donosti.

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