Perspective, Error or Both?

These images are of the original plans for the Washington State capital building in Olympia, Washington:

Though they look different, all three drawings are basically correct, adequate enough for engineers and construction workers to construct the building.  The diagram is a front (north) elevation.  The middle one is a west side elevation, an orthogonal point of view, and on the right is a floor plan of the ground floor.  The change in perspective is quite visible, but except for the obvious difference between drawing and building, there are no errors in the information.  That is not true of the following set of drawings, which are simply wrong:

The state capital could have been built according to these plans, but would be a much less impressive.  As descriptions of the current building, they are simply wrong.

It should be noted that drawings from these three perspective points are ideal for the actual construction of the building, but are hard to visualize.  Compare these oblique perspectives:

The first of the images shows the front of the building quite clearly and gives a pretty good idea of what the side looks like, but would give the builder no information about the back or other side of the building.

The second image, like the middle of those inside, says a lot about the side of the building and shows a small part of the front, but again gives the builder no information about the back or other side of the building.  Neither of these images says anything about the interior.

The third of these images shows a small part of the interior, the central rotunda.  But it shows it only from one point of view and says nothing about what is behind the camera.  A look behind might show something quite different.  However the floor plan above makes it clear that the rotunda is symmetric, so the interior photograph would be quite useful.

Given all six images, the architect’s plans and the photographs from various oblique perspectives, it would not be hard to reconstruct the building after the long overdue earthquake, perhaps 9.0 on the Richter scale.

The key lesson here, however, is not earthquake preparedness but the difference between descriptions which seem different but are correct and those which are indeed incorrect.

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