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Architecture and Mathematics

This is only a 7/8-hearted recommendation, unless you have lots of money in your budget. I will try to point out the good and the bad. In 1999, Kim Williams, an architect in Florence, Italy, started the Nexus Network Journal. It was intended to be a on-line journal that focused on "all aspects of the relationships between architecture and mathematics." It was a hit, with the first year's issues including articles on spiral patterns based on circular rosettes, the geometric designs of Persian domes, the geometric study of ancient pyramids.

The journal has continued with two issues yearly, touching on the mathematics areas of number theory, fractals, algebra, topology, and trigonometry. Some of its lofty initial goals remain minimally realized, e.g. the provision of materials helpful for the classroom study of architecture and geometry.

So, why is my review 7/8-hearted...as all of this sounds quite good. Since 2006, the journal has been absorbed by Springer, and now, to read the articles on-line, you must either be a subscriber or pay approximately $35 to read an article (ouch!). BUT...the good news. You still have FREE access to all of the content in Volumes 1-6 of the journal plus the current issue, which includes interesting articles such as:

  • How to Construct a Logarithmic Rosette (Without Even Knowing it)
  • Pythagorean Triangles and Musical proportions
  • The Arithmetic of Nicomachus of Gerasa and its Applications to Systems of Proportion
  • Under Siege: The Golden Mean in Architecture
  • A Geometrical Ensemble to Generate the Squaring of the Circle
  • The Geometer’s Angle Marriages of Incommensurables
  • “Fractal Architecture”: Late Twentieth Century Connections Between Architecture and Fractal Geometry
  • Analysis and Synthesis in Architectural Designs: A Study in Symmetry
  • The Geometer’s Angle: An Introduction to the Art and Science of Geometric Analysis
  • Arithmetic, Geometric and Harmonic Sequences
  • The Golden Section in Architectural Theory
  • The Pythagopod (This one is fascinating!)
  • More True Applications of the Golden Number
  • The Double Möbius Strip Studies
  • Teaching Mathematics through Brick Patterns
If you are interested in connections between mathematics and architecture, these articles will satisfy your appetite for some time. And while you are there, look at the "Queries" section...a lot of good information there as well.