At the heart of the Jindee vision is a celebration of great design and embracing beauty. So what does the seemingly obscure ratio 1:1.618 have to do with design and with Jindee? This ratio – known as the ‘golden ratio’ - is actually the basis of great art, architecture and design and creates proportions that are appealing to the eye.
Skim any book or website dedicated to design and aesthetics and at some point you are likely to come across the golden ratio - whether it is about ancient Greece and the Parthenon, Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile, the Taj Mahal, Toronto’s CN Tower or design standard-setter Apple and its iconic logo.
Remarkably, the golden ratio is said to have been originally discovered in nature, with its perfect proportion found in flowers, people's faces, fruits, vegetables, trees, shells, hurricanes and even in DNA molecules.
The origin of the golden ratio
To understand what the golden ratio is, we first need to understand the contribution of Leonardo Fibonacci (1175-1250) and the number sequence named after him.
The brilliant mathematician from the Republic of Pisa introduced the Western world to the ancient Hindu-Arabic numerical system through his book Liber Abaci or Book of Abacus or Book of Calculation. Fibonacci described the sequence in which successive numbers are the sum of the previous two numbers. The larger the numbers get in the Fibonacci sequence the difference between the two adjacent numbers (by dividing the larger one by the smaller one) gets closer to 1:1.618.
In geometric terms, two quantities are said to be in a golden ratio if you divide a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part. Phew!
The universal design principle
That number was seen to be so all-pervasive in the natural world that it became the universal standard of beauty and aesthetic perfection.
Amongst the first artists to use the idea of the golden ratio was Renaissance polymath, Leonardo da Vinci. All the dimensions of the room, the table and the ornamental shields in The Last Supper adhere to the golden ratio (also known as the divine proportion).
His great contemporary and rival Michelangelo featured over two dozen golden ratios in his paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, including the point at which God touches the finger of Adam in relation to the horizontal borders of the work.
On a grander scale there are many iconic buildings that are constructed according to the measurements of the golden ratio - think of the Great Pyramid of Giza, Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Jindee and the golden ratio
When Jindee Town Architect Julie Harrold and her team developed the Jindee Architectural Standards they looked to WA's iconic coastal communities of Fremantle, Rottnest and Cottesloe. These areas are characterised by their connection to the ocean and feature robust buildings designed to handle the harsher conditions by the ocean.
The structures in these areas all resonate with the golden ratio, which forms the basis of Jindee’s architectural design.
“The golden ratio is found in nature, it is found in art, it is found in architecture. So when people see something designed using these ratios and proportions they instinctively feel its quality. You may not understand why but you just know that it’s good. Even modest homes built according to the golden ratio have an elegant, generous beauty,” Julie said.
“It’s not necessary for the people building in Jindee to understand the golden ratio because it is embedded in the architectural standards.
“But it’s nice to know the reason why your verandah is a certain depth and roof pitch or why a projecting front is a particular width compared to the whole elevation and that it all comes back to a timeless design principle.”