Architecture & Maths!
If you ever thought about being an architect but thought you couldn’t handle the math, you aren’t alone. At parties across the land, as soon as someone finds out there is an architect in the crowd, there is a story being told about how they wanted to be an architect but since they couldn’t draw or weren’t very good at math, and as a result, they decided to do something else.
Architects need maths and do maths, but their applications are just quite a bit different, maybe unique. Some might say that architects’ maths is simple, but they haven’t probably heard of the golden ratio and parametric design. With the rapid advancement in modeling and conceptual design tools, some extra knowledge of mathematics might put you in a much better position. Here are 5 reasons why architects need maths:
- Convert Units:
This is one of the earliest tasks an architect faces in the field which requires basic maths knowledge. Architects deal mostly with areas and heights. If you belong to the majority that uses the metric system you need to know how to convert measurements from centimeter to meter and from meter to kilometer. You also need to know how to calculate areas and convert them from meter square to hectare and so.
- Figuring Out the Scale: On an architecture student’s first design assignment, it is required to draw a plan on a scale of 1:X. X can be a 50 or 100 or even a 200. As the scale of the project grows to cover neighborhoods and cities instead of buildings, the X may amount to 1000 and 2000. But what is 1 and what is x? “1” is the unit length, in a drawing, representative of a distance X in the real world. Calculating a drawing’s measurements to scale requires knowledge of different units and cross multiplication.
- Adjust Proportions: Proportions are vital to the success of any design and not just architectural design. That is why architects and artists have for so long been trying to figure out the perfect ratios and relations to set the perfect composition or design the perfect building. Proportions are ratios between numbers, and comprehending them requires maths knowledge. The most famous ratio which has been widely applied in architecture is the Golden ratio 1:1.618.
- Create Complex yet Functional Forms:
This one is achieved via what is trending now as Parametric Design. Parametric Design is a method which employs algorithms along with a set of variables, or parameters, to generate unique geometrical forms. All the different architectural parts of a structure turn into mathematically defined components that can be modified and transformed using mathematical equations and operations. The more the architect is knowledgeable of geometry, mechanics, and mathematics, the more they can manipulate the parametric design tools, and the more unique are their products.
- Compose Bill of Quantities: A bill of quantities is a complete list of all the components of a building, like for example how many bricks, how many aluminum window frames, how much paint, and how many ceramic tiles. Anything and everything that was used to erect the building and make it ready for usage is included in the bill of quantities, and of course, in order to compose it, you need maths. You need to know how to calculate perimeters, areas, and volumes, and translate them into prices.