Vernacular and prestige architecture contrast in many qualitative aspects – architectural style, design process, building materials, etc. Whether or not the theme of proportion encompasses the contrasts between vernacular architecture and prestige architecture is the main focus of this thesis. The scarcity of studies touching on proportion in vernacular architecture, and the subsequent comparison with prestige architecture, accounts for the existence of this thesis.
The main aims of the thesis are: to attempt to identify a proportional approach in vernacular and prestige architecture and, if this is present, to determine contrasts between them; to explore the practice of “shape repetition” as an assumed quality of a proportional approach; to question the dominance of prestigious ratios (golden ratio, silver ratio, Ludolph’s number) in architectural practice. The thesis is organised into two major blocks, the first exploring the theoretical background, and the second providing the performed analyses and a discussion thereof. The study sample consisted of residential houses of the 19th century in the Alpine and Germanic regions. A large amount of data obtained from the geometrical analyses of the buildings’ elevations was systematically extracted into a Microsoft Excel table, from which the pivot tables and charts were derived. Using slicers, the data were further filtered as needed. These analytical methods proved to be very effective and flexible.
Various aspects of the key findings are striking. For example, despite revealing contrasts between the proportional approach in vernacular architecture and that in prestige architecture, some of the expectations were disproved. The dominance of prestigious ratios was confirmed in neither case, and “shape repetition” was found to be rare. Instead, the easy-to-construct ratios of the square 1:1, and the double square 1:2 declared their importance in vernacular and prestige architecture respectively.