ARCHITECTURE: 2005 Gingerbread White House Violating Centuries of Pythagorean Tradition
SCANDAL AT THE WHITE HOUSE! For this year's White House gingerbread house, seen here in this White House photo, take a close look at the North Portico. (Or take a look at page A22 of The New York Times' national edition for a better view.) Its pediment is the shape of an equilateral triangle. Architectural purists well know that what we see is the incorrect shape and it is well evident that the person in charge of crafting this year's proportionally warped gingerbread house, whether it was executive chef Christeta Comerford or first twin Jenna Bush, should go back to their high school geometry of Western Civilization class.
When James Hoban designed the executive mansion more than two centuries ago, he was inspired by classical geometry. And most Greek and Roman pediments are governed by the so-called Golden Section, that divine proportion or golden ratio that we see best in the Parthenon in Athens and reproduced in countless buildings for centuries and centuries. But not here in this gingerbread house.
Pythagoras believed that reality is controlled by a numerical reality, "except that numbers were not units as we define them today, but were expressions of ratios," according to Wikipedia. The White House apparently doesn't believe in Pythagoras' wisdom, or else we would be seeing a much different gingerbread house. The office of the first lady has three more Christmas seasons to create a more realistic gingerbread White House.
>> "Golden Ratio" [Wikipedia]