Drawing An Ionic Volute

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Drawing an Ionic Volute - a decorative element typical of Classic architecture.
The Ionic volute is representative of a spiral with three turns, restrained within a 7:6 rectangle. It is formed by drawing a series of quarter-circles (quadrants) which run neatly one into the other, ending in a full circle termed the Cathetus (eye) of the volute. This method is transferable to practically any size of full-scale building unit.

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  • Hi Simon & all

    Instead of using dimensions you can draw a diagonal (lower left corner to upper right on slide 7 ) and another one perpendicular to it (from lower right perpendicular to the first). The crosssings with the horizontals and verticals will be the tangent spiral.Next draw the bisectors of the two diagonals. Their intersection with the tangent spiral will be the start and end of the arc of circles that compose the final spiral. But this is just one of the methods used by the ancient greek to draw volutae :)
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  • i would like to know the gibbs rule to construct ionic volute can you help me regarding this
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  • Hello Simon and thank you for the reply!

    To be honest, this post has sparked the interest of knowing more about ancient architecture (mainly Greek) . Although I took classes in school, I never paid much attention and now I realize that their methods and 'design' were probably the closest we will ever get to 'perfection', as far as architecture is concerned.

    Very nice tutorial, also!
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  • Hi Florin, a volute is indeed a beautiful thing! There are many spirals in nature, and Fibonacci used a sequence of numbers to describe a particular spiral in geometry. Fabricating a perfect spiral is easy using computer equipment - but the method described here was adapted by HJ Spooner from Vitruvis who described how the ancient Ionians may have traced this form onto stone using just a ruler and compasses, capturing and stylising a natural form.
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  • Hi! What a beautiful thing! Can I ask you something? I am curios to know if the volute spiral has anything to do with the fibonacci numbers and spiral? Thank you. (a young architect)
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Drawing An Ionic Volute

  1. 1. Drawing an Ionic Volute _ Stonemasonry technical skills at SkillsTech Australia Adapted from Spooner H.J. : 'Geometrical Drawing' pp167-169
  2. 2. <ul><li>Method </li></ul><ul><li>Draw a rectangle (ratio height : width = 7 : 6) representing an elevation of the stone block from which the volute is to be carved. </li></ul><ul><li>Draw two other rectangles inside the first one, each positioned vertically so that the ratio 7:6:5 is formed. An even transition between each turn positions the rectangles horizontally. The inner rectangles are respectively half-size and quarter-size relative to the first rectangle </li></ul><ul><li>Draw 45 0 lines from the corners of each rectangle to find squares within the rectangles. </li></ul><ul><li>Starting from the outside, draw quadrants from one corner of each square to form a continuous spiral of three complete turns. </li></ul><ul><li>Draw the volute eye – the Cathetus – by continuing the last quadrant into a full circle </li></ul>Ionic volute construction
  3. 3. <ul><li>Step 1: C onsider the proportions necessary to construct the volute: </li></ul><ul><li>All three rectangles’ height : width ratio is 7 : 6 </li></ul><ul><li>The inner rectangles are positioned vertically so that the ratio 7:6:5 is formed </li></ul><ul><li>The inner rectangles are positioned horizontally so that there is an even transition between turns </li></ul><ul><li>The first inner rectangle is half the size of the original rectangle </li></ul><ul><li>The second inner rectangle is half the size of the first inner rectangle </li></ul>
  4. 4. Proportions of rectangles 7 . 5 m m 7 . 5 m m 7.5mm 1 5 m m 1 5 m m 15mm 3 0 m m 3 0 m m 30mm x Unit = Length of side Ratio 37.5mm 5 45mm 6 52.5mm 7 (75+52.5)mm/2 = 63.75mm 75mm 5 90mm 6 105mm 7 (150+105)mm/2 = 127.5mm 150mm 5 180mm 6 210mm 7
  5. 5. Step 2: Draw a rectangle 210mm high and 180mm wide All lines are construction lines!
  6. 6. Step 3: Draw a horizontal line at 150mm height
  7. 7. Step 4: Draw the second rectangle
  8. 8. Step 5: Draw a horizontal line at 75mm height
  9. 9. Step 6: Draw the third rectangle
  10. 10. Step 7: Draw a horizontal line at 37.5mm height
  11. 11. Step 8: Draw 45 0 lines from corners to form a square
  12. 12. Step 9: Find centre of each side of the square and project vertical and horizontal lines
  13. 13. Step 10: The squares tell where the quadrants will go
  14. 14. Step 11: Draw quadrants to form the first turn of the spiral
  15. 15. Step 12: Clean up construction lines
  16. 16. Step 13: Locate the second rectangle
  17. 17. Step 14: Draw 45 0 lines from the corners
  18. 18. Step 15: Find centre of each side of the square and project vertical and horizontal lines
  19. 19. Step 16: The squares tell where the quadrants will go
  20. 20. Step 17: Draw quadrants to form the second turn of the spiral
  21. 21. Step 18: Clean up construction lines
  22. 22. Step 19: Locate the third rectangle
  23. 23. Step 20: Draw 45 0 lines from the corners
  24. 24. Step 21: Find centre of each side of the square and project vertical and horizontal lines
  25. 25. Step 22: The squares tell where the quadrants will go
  26. 26. Step 23: Draw quadrants to form the third turn of the spiral
  27. 27. Step 24: Continue the final quadrant to form the Cathetus (volute ‘eye’)
  28. 28. Step 25: Clean up all construction lines and outline the spiral

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