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On Growth and Form


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Table of Contents

Introduction John Tyler Bonner; 1. Introductory; 2. On magnitude; 3. The forms of cells; 4. The forms of tissues, of cell-aggregates; 5. On spicules and spicular skeletons; 6. The equiangular spiral; 7. The shapes of horns and of teeth or tusks; 8. On form and mechanical efficiency; 9. On the theory of transformations, or the comparison of related forms; 10. Epilogue; Index.

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D'Arcy Thompson's classic On Growth and Form looks at the way things grow and the shapes they take.


'Thompson describes, in great detail, how natural organisms evolve in response to the forces of survival to achieve fitness to purpose. Thompson demonstrates the causality of the shaping and design of natural organisms. For me, as a budding architect, this gave a clue to the concept of fitness to purpose: that architecture must evolve not as a formalistic shape-forming, but from a deep understanding of the programmatic, functional material and economic forces that shape it. This means an understanding of the material and structural aspects of a building, the life intended in a building (i.e. its human purpose) and the many forces (climatic and others) that must be responded to in the process. ... [the book is] as topical and significant today, going forward, as [it was], for me, 60 years ago.' Moshe Safdie, Architektura Konteksty

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