Maths and architecture: Buildings you can count on

maths and architecture

Ever thought about the maths that must have gone into designing and building the distinctive sails of the Sydney Opera House roof? (Answer: a lot!) Maths is fundamental to solving some of architecture’s most complex problems – from figuring out how sound moves through spaces to constructing curved forms more efficiently.

Daniel Prohasky, a lecturer in architectural engineering at Swinburne University of Technology, applies maths daily. Daniel’s an expert of design and engineering, so he can help realise architects’ creative visions of curved structures using complex geometry and machine learning algorithms (he’s also a roboticist).

Daniel Prohasky, Swinburne University of Technology lecturer in Architectural Design.

Daniel says he acts as a bridge between both the creative visions of designers and the equally creative output of mathematicians that have gone before him. “Without the insight from those that have looked very closely at nature, we would not have the impetus to develop mathematical systems of design from the patterns that have already been described,” he says.

SOUND DESIGNS

Another architect for whom maths and architecture is crucial to the design process is Pantea Alambeigi, who works with acousticians to look at how sound moves through interior spaces.

It was Pantea’s love of geometry that sparked her interest in a career in architecture. She’s now doing a PhD with Swinburne University of Technology addressing the need for privacy in meeting areas of open-plan offices.

maths and architecture
PhD student Pantea Alambeigi.

“I apply maths to find the optimum geometry that responds to sound performance best,” she explains.

Pantea believes maths is a pretty essential skill for architects. “Maths, physics, philosophy and all sciences are inseparable parts of architecture,” she says.

Daniel agrees. “It is a highly sought-after skill that will be useful for decades to come in our current state of technology acceleration”.

– Marlena Batchelor

maths and architecture
Curvecrete Pavilion, Melbourne.

START YOUR CAREER HERE

MATHS + DESIGN STUDY

Diploma of Design, University of Canberra

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)/Bachelor of Innovation and Design, Swinburne University of Technology 

Bachelor of Architectural Design, RMIT University

MATHS + DESIGN JOBS

Design architect: $48K–$95K

Architectural (structural) engineer: $54K–$99K

Landscape designer: $44K–$67K

Interior architect: $40K–$87K*

*Source: Salaries according to payscale.com

This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Maths 2019.

STEM Contributor

Author: STEM Contributor

This article was written by a STEM Contributor for Careers with STEM. To learn more, please visit our contact page.

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