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The Body As Architecture

September 22, 2014


In the winter of 1990, right after we’d added on to our house to support the new invasion of children, our friends, Pat Pinnell, and his wife, Kathy Curran, had dinner at our house. During the fairly wine sodden evening, Pat looked over to see a new column I had designed to facilitate the expansion of our house,


and abruptly asked me what my height and weight were. I responded (more in hope than in fact) that I was 5’-11” and 230 pounds

.duo230(me at that weight)

He quickly found a tape measure, measured the column’s girth and height, and between those two dimensions came up with the following equations:


column: 59”        height                                  me: 5’-11” height   230 lbs. weight or

9.5”       max. diameter                                           71” tall         230 lbs. heavy


230 lbs. ¸55 (pounds per cubic foot) = 4.2 cubic feet of me

Given these, if I were a column:

71 (my height in inches) multiplied by π multiplied by r2 (my squared radius) = 4.2 (my cubic feet) multiplied by 1720 (cubic inches in a cubic foot of me)

r2 = 4.2 (cubic feet of me) multiplied by 1720 (cubic inches in a foot)

71” (my height) multiplied by π


This meant that:

r = 5.7 (my “radius”)

D = 11.4” (my “diameter”)


The Ratio – Height:Diameter, Me and My Column

Column Ratio: 59 (column height) ¸ 9.5 (column diameter) = 6.22 

My Ratio: 71.0 (my height) ¸ 11.4 (my average “diameter”) = 6.22

The telling aspect of this exercise is that rather than 5’-11”, I was more like 5’-10¼” and rather than the 230 lbs. that I owned up to, my guess is I was probably the better part of 250 – 260 lbs. So in truth, the column is not really a metaphor for my actual body, but for the one that I thought I had.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2014 6:36 am

    Dude, this is delightfully nuts! I loved it!


  2. September 23, 2014 6:46 am

    Just thinking, Dude…

    Did you bother to calculate your entasis?

    Hmmmm? Hmmmmmm?


  3. September 23, 2014 6:52 am

    Just the bottom line – and it was big…sadly


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