Ring-and-circle, symbolical and practical meaning of the form in town planning and architecture


  • Teresa Bardzinska-Bonenberg




In the research analysis of historical urban and architectural developments was confronted with the newest concepts in town planning and architecture. The search was set against the background of political and social situation as well as changing technical possibilities. Applied methodology was focused on finding links between forms created by people and crucial events characterizing analyzed periods. The methods involved included studies of literature, historical registers in museums and research in situ. Oval or circular urban systems and structures were shaped by several factors: safety, community demand, worship, expression of emotions and experience of decision makers and builders. At times when the defence of people and their possessions was a frequent necessity it was a ring of walls or circular rampart or tower on a plan of a circle that were used. Logics of this solution can be easily proved by simple equations. When mathematics imbued with magic or religion, and became a tool of shaping architecture, use of a ring was symbolic, and often used in sacred urban layouts and architecture. Circle, as the most perfect of figures was appreciated by the people of power of all periods up to now. First theoretical urban plans developed either from circular focal building or implemented circle or ring in shaping the whole layout. In the era of rationalism theorists of that time saw the opportunity to organize functional zones in concentric way. Recent decades unveiled new phenomena: circular projects in urban and architectural scale.