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 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.
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.
“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
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Author: STEM Contributor
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