VIDEO: Stereotomy – the alchemy of solids

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In this video Rene A. Salas takes us on a fascinating journey into the world of stereotomy. Wikipedia tells us this is the art and science of cutting three-dimensional solids, typically stone or wood, into into complex structures. The narrator’s definition is much more specific: ‘Stereotomy is to descriptive geometry what perspective is to projective geometry’.

The video also refers to L’Art du Trait, a way of creating 3D drawings of the whole or part of a piece by combining elevation and plan views – the sort of thing many people nowadays use computer software for. The journey takes us back in time to a traditional craft that some even refer to as alchemy due to the complex and extraordinary architectural constructions that can result. To become a guild compagnon (companion) it was necessary to complete a ‘tour de France’, ie a journeyman’s education. The video takes us to some of the stopping points.

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