To help us visualize this balance, we draw on the concept of the “center point” in geometry, along with the “centroid.” (Mechanics, in contrast, uses the pivot point.) Another geometric metaphor is the “sustainability triangle” with its three sides: “ecological,” “social,” and “economic.” This figure helps visualize, in a tentatively and exploratory way, the “complex space between the center and the measure of all things in architecture.” At the same time, the “measure of all things” goes beyond this triangle. We see it as a circle that surrounds the triangle, which touches all three corners of the triangle, a frame within which everything must occur. This circle encompasses the natural resources – “nature” – that make human life possible in the first place, thereby visualizing our “planetary boundaries” as well.

Many figures, many references. Having a center point as a fixed starting point and reference point is helpful – but is there only one reference system? In fact, a triangle can have multiple reference points because it does not have a single center. Thus, it either has no center or, seen differently, two centers: the circumcenter and the incenter. The “circumcenter” is at the heart of the circumcircle, which touches the triangle’s corners. Meanwhile, the “incenter” is equally distanced from each side, located at the heart of the incircle. This raises the question: which center should humans align with?

A triangle invariably features a “centroid,” the point that divides the triangle into three regions of equal area and where it can be balanced, serving as its center of mass. Does this make the centroid the “true” or “perceived” center? After all, our architecture should provide spaces where people can live in balance, considering social, economic, and ecological aspects.

But if our goal is balance, perhaps aligning with the incenter makes better sense. This is the point equidistant from each side of the triangle. In our metaphor, if the circumcircle represents planetary boundaries, what could the incircle represent? It could symbolize the scope of architecture and construction. Its boundaries, forming a round frame, touch all three sides of the triangle – engaging with the parameters of society, the environment, and the economy. Isn’t this connection fundamental for contemporary building practices? Any architect following this logic would have to consider the incenter as the architectural center as well.

However, we must also consider that the centroid might lie outside the incircle in irregular triangles, questioning if the incircle can truly frame our architectural efforts. How sustainable can a project be if it cannot equally accommodate the three parameters from the outset? Similarly, the circumcenter might not be positioned within the triangle, even if it maintains the same distance to each of the triangle’s corners, thus challenging its role in centering our architectural designs. Where, then, is the optimal position, the center of architecture at which we should place people?

The dynamic concept of “Scale:Human” guides us in determining this optimal center of people in architecture. This scale is not static; it evolves with societal changes and historical shifts. It reflects the ever-changing perception of what “benefits” – the center, so to speak – architecture and urban planning should deliver to humanity. For instance, there was a time when the “car-friendly” city was considered the best for people. Today, we see things very differently.

“Scale:Human” is a metaphor, not a model. It is not a tool for concrete design, but a guiding principle that helps us define and refine our architectural approach. With every new project, it compels us to continually ask: Where exactly do people stand when they are at the center of this architecture? Each project has its specific context and conditions. The triangle can be isosceles or obtuse. It always looks different; its shape constantly shifts. The center of the architecture – the optimal position for people within it or in relation to it – is never in the same place.

In a perfect world, the triangle would be equilateral, with all centers aligned. This congruence eliminates any questions of navigation and location, as the answer is always the same. However, in practice, real-world projects are too diverse for such symmetry and congruence. Even within each project, the ecological, social, and economic parameters – the three sides of the triangle – are almost always too varied for perfection. One might take comfort in the idea that perfection is the enemy of the good. Such a stance would be satisfied with avoiding overly blatant distortions of the triangle.

But we know that the more equilateral a triangle becomes, the more its centers and centroid converge. So, the aim of sustainable construction must be to make the triangle as equilateral as possible. If the ideal of perfect congruence cannot be achieved, we should strive for convergence.

Applying “Scale:Human” – the human scale – means recognizing, understanding, and negotiating all the conditions, responsibilities, and contexts of one’s own architectural decisions as well as those of the specific building task. The goal is to distill the best, most suitable design from this process – and to strive to draw the triangle as symmetrically as possible.