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Friday Forum #5

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This week Celine presented a thoroughly interesting talk on “Mathematics In The History Of Architecture”.

Mathematics have been linked to architecture throughout the centuries, starting in Ancient Egypt where geometry was the key element for the pyramids’ builders. When looking at architecture before the 20th century, one can realise that there used to be a dialectic between architecture in relation to the Divine and architecture in relation to the Human Being. Mathematics have played a role in both cases, either to magnify the temples / cathedrals with “pure" geometric shapes, symmetry, regulating lines, the golden ratio; or to connect the Human Being to its architectural environment with proportions and measuring systems based on the human body. The 20th century symbolises a change of semantic through the appearance of continuous mathematics, functions, parametric and new architectural domains like topology, complexity, emergence, chaos, etc. Architecture is now using the evolution of mathematics but not making the mathematics evolve anymore. The shape has become the main architectural focus rather than the Divine or the Human Being.

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