Math and Architecture

If you ever thought about being an architect but thought you could not handle the math, you are not 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 could not draw or were not very good at math, they decided to do something else.

Do I need some math skills to draw sections and calculations? Absolutely, but none of this is magic and absolutely none of it requires trigonometry, calculus, or physics. So be easy on yourself.

I want to cover in this short article, which was originally written by Bob Borson in 2015 with lifeofanarchitect.com, how architecture and math are connected. So many people think that if you want to be an architect you have to be very good at math or drawing. In a short statement, it is not. However, in school you need to pass all your subjects to be qualified and get your degree, some architectural licensing exams require that you be good at math.

We all know that we studied different levels of mathematics in high school and college, but rarely you face that during your life as an architect. If you really think that architecture is the right choice for you, do not let math stand in your way.

The architect Lee Calisti mentioned that math should never be the factor to keep you out from architecture, in fact, you will never use complex equations like calculus in your job. However, you may need to adapt simple algebra quantities and trigonometry to deal with the array of dimensions, quantities, area, volume, and other geometric relationships. This plays into spatial thinking and patterns.

Evan Troxel, an architect, mentioned that it is good to be decent in math. For example, we are constantly adding and subtracting measurements, thicknesses, volumes, and areas. We work with spreadsheets that tally sizes of spaces and everything has to all add up. Geometry is math, right? Yes, it is. Drawing + Math = Awesome. That is one reason we’re architects and not artists.

As for architecture school, an article published on theguardian, said that different universities require different courses. More artistic subjects can prove useful, particularly where the technical drawing is involved. “There are myths around physics and maths,” says Liverpool University lecturer Emma Curtin. “We have students who’ve studied arts and humanities, math and science or design tech.”

I am here to tell you that you do not have to be great at math to be an architect.

Do I need some math skills to draw sections and calculations? Absolutely, but none of this is magic and absolutely none of it requires trigonometry, calculus, or physics. So be easy on yourself.

Source of material: lifeofanarchitect.com, theguardian.com