Back to the Future: “Cuboctahedron” Revisited

By Hakan Hisarligil and Beyhan Bolak Hisarligil.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The aim of this paper is both to introduce and to discuss the meaning of ‘cuboctahedron’ discovered in Kayseri, a city located in central Anatolia. The examples dating back to the 13th century belong to the art and architecture of Seljuk Turks. In geometry, the ‘cuboctahedron, ‘which is composed of eight equilateral triangul and six square faces, is one of the thirteen Archimedean solids. Since Ancient times thinkers, scientists or artists have worked on the artistic and scientific potentials of Platonic and Archimedean solids in the West. R. Buckminster Fuller who made a comprehensive analysis on the relation between geometry and design in his magnum opus titled ‘Synergetics’ might be regarded as the most productive one among them. To many, the ‘cuboctahedron’ coined as ‘dymaxion or vector equilibrium’ by himself is the leitmotive of his work. Hence, the aim of this study is to bring a different outlook to the geometrical language of the art and architecture of Seljuk Turks in 13th century regarded as a decoration by almost all art and architectural historians, through the explanations of R. Buckminster Fuller on the meaning of ‘cuboctahedron’.

Keywords: Geometry, Design, Cuboctahedron, Islamic Art, Seljuk Turks, R.B. Fuller, Kayseri

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.109-124. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.253MB).

Dr. Hakan Hisarligil

Instructor, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey

Hakan Hisarligil is a full time instructor in the School of Architecture at Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey. He teaches “architectural design”, “technical drawing” and “Geometry” taking place in the first year curriculum of the school. He received his BArch from Gazi University and MArt in Environmental Design from Hacettepe University. Winning awards in urban design competitions, he designed a number of housing projects in Ankara. After working as a research assistant in the Department of the City and Regional Planning at Gazi University, he attended to the Graduate Industrial Design Program at the Syracuse University in New York. He holds Masters and Ph D degrees in urban planning from Gazi University at present.

Dr. Beyhan Bolak Hisarligil

Instructor, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey

Beyhan Bolak Hisarligil is an Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey. She teaches architecture in architectural design studios. She did her undergraduate work at this department and received masters degree in architectural design titled ‘Constructed Space in Literature as Represented in Novels: A Case Study of Orhan Pamuk’s Black Book’ at Middle East Technical University. She received her Ph. D degree in architectural design from Istanbul Technical University with the thesis titled ‘A Poetic Thinking of Dwelling: The In-between in Vernacular Anatolian Settlements’.

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