Isn't the symmetrical building layout tactically more disadvantageous
because the enemy would only need to see part of the layout to be able
to guess what the rest looks like?
If the enemy knows that the layout for your buildings is asymmetric
(e.g., the Japanese?), then wouldn't he be less able to guess how the
unseen is laid out?
Any intelligent opponent will, through the FOI act, request to see
your house plans at your local building department. This is a little
known reason why most people avoid getting building permits - the risk
of hostile forces breeching their castle's defenses through
BTW, the symmetry problem in laying siege is an issue if you design
only in three dimensions. Once you get into higher dimensional
design, of which I am an expert, these problems diminish. Of course
the advantages come with a downside - frequently the owner will get
lost in their own house or end up opening a door and looking out on
another planet or something.
I was trying to go through my mental visual library to see whetehr I could
find any pattern as to whetehr symmetrical forts tended to be built after
teh use of guns, and esp. cannon, became more prevalent. From what I can
pictorially remember about castles, most were not symmetrical, because the
structures erected inside the walls were functional, and different
functions called for different sizes and shapes.
Recalling things such as forts overlooking rivers (such as Fort Ticonderoga
and so on), the parts that seem to be symmetrical are main designed so as
to maximize covereage of the threatened area. Unless the surrounding
landscape is itself symmetrical, I don't think there would be any defensive
advantage to making a fort symmetrical - areas that are more likely to be
attacked would be given greater coverage/defensive capability, which is why
adversaries are always looking for teh equivalent of "the sewer pipe" so to
speak - the back door, the secret entrance (built for threatened kings to
flee from), and so on.
I also don't recall that Japanese buildings, incluidng forts, are
symmetrical - even if the exterior seems to be so (a square, for example),
the interiors would not be.
The interior layout of a building can't be deduced from the exterior. WHat
looks symmetrical on the outside might be a rabbit-warren on the inside
with secret passageways and bubbies, and something that looks asymmetrical
on the outside might have symmetrical elements inside or be wide open.
That's why opponents always try to have someone "on the inside" as the
So, I don't think there is a real correleation between something being a
fort or other defensive structure, and whetehr it'd be more likely to be
symmetrical, or asymmetrical.
I *can* tell you that, if you're not familiar with the interior of the
Pentagon, it's easy to get completely lost, because most of it looks (or at
least looked in 1999) pretty much the same inside ;)
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