Mathematical Concepts

WHS with a specific mathematical concept - either the site is a good example of the mathematical concept or it demonstrates development of complex mathematical concepts.

Excluded are sites with ingenious use of proportions, the golden ratio and symmetry (unless they exhibit other higher mathematical concept) as they are basic concepts in architecture.

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Brasilia Cathedral of Brasilia - Hyperboloid of revolution. Hyperbolic of revolution are surfaces generated by rotating a hyperbola around an axis. The shape of the roof of the cathedral is hyperboloid of revolution with asymmetric sections and consists of 16 identical columns.
Castel del Monte Fibonacci Sequence. "The floors, fireplaces, windows, everything seems to follow the sequence of the famous mathematician Fibonacci."
Central University City Campus of the UNAM Pabellón de Rayos Cósmicos - Hyperbolic Paraboloid. Hyperbolic paraboloid is a doubly ruled surface shaped like a saddle. "Cosmic Ray Pavilion is the product of the structural experiments of the architect Felix Candela is a very thin reinforced concrete double curvature based on the geometry of the hyperbolic paraboloid."
Church of Atlántida One of Dieste's structural innovations were Gaussian Vaults. Gaussian Vaults are based on rationalizing the construction of double curvature forms using standard hollow-core ceramic units with steel reinforcement. The vaults take their name from German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, and refer to the normal distribution of a curve. The double curvature Gaussian form is used to prevent bending, maximize span, and minimize the material thickness of the vault.
Cordouan Lighthouse Stereotomy. The raising of the tower has been done thanks to stereotomy, "the art and science of cutting three-dimensional solids into particular shapes". It is sometimes also called "descriptive geometry" in technical drawing. (Nomination file, p. 163)
Divrigi Projective Geometry. At different hours of a day, 4 silhouettes appear on exterior walls (a man looking straight, man reading a book, a man praying, a woman praying). "These remarkable features could not have been designed without the combination of mathematics, astronomy and art... before the construction of the mosque had started, the scientists observed the positions of the sun and stars for two years. After very careful calculations had been done, the results were applied in the construction of the walls and the carving of the outside doors."
Gonbad-e Qâbus Cycles and Circumferences. "The monument is an outstanding example of an Islamic commemorative tower whose innovative structural design illustrates the exceptional development of mathematics and science in the Muslim world at the turn of the first millennium AD." - statement of OUV
Granada Alhambra - Tessellation. Tessellation is the periodic tiling of a plane with no overlaps or gaps. The Alhambra is the classic example of uses of tessellation in architecture. In particular, the Alhambra tiles contain "nearly all, if not all, of the 17 mathematically possible wallpaper groups." (wiki)
Hampi Virupaksha Temple - Fractals. Fractals are complex patterns that shows repetition across different scales. Virupaksha temple exhibits fractals in temple carvings and patterns as well as in its layout. "As you look up the temple top, the patterns divide and repeat themselves, just like you would see in a snowflake or some other natural wonders."
Risco Caido Parabolic
Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple Seokguram Grotto - Projective Geometry. Projective geometry is the study of mathematics dealing with properties of figures that is invariant (doesn't change) with projective transformations. Seokguram Grotto demonstrates the practical knowledge in projective geometry of the builders. Viewed from around 10 meters (current location with the glass door), the grotto is eye-level with the visitor and with balanced in principle with projective geometry. The halo is constructed as an ellipse but after geometric projection around 8-10 m, it looks round from the observer. The dimensions of the two hands are constructed differently due to the distance difference between them. When viewed from observer, the hands look perfectly balanced. Same principles is also applied to the dimension of the head in relation to the body.
Struve Geodetic Arc Triangulation. Triangulation is the process of determining the location of a point by forming triangles to it from known points, especifically by measuring the angles of the formed triangle. Struve used this approach to measure the meridian and oblateness of the earth by measuring the angles formed of the geodetic points.
Sydney Opera House Spherical Geometry. The shells are derived from triangular sections of a surface of sphere with similar radius. Known as the "Spherical Solution" it became "the binding discovery that allowed for the unified and distinctive characteristics of the Sydney Opera House to be realised"
Works of Antoni Gaudí Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell - Conic Sections and Ruled Surfaces. Conic sections are curves obtained when a plane intersects a right circular cone forming circle, ellipse, parabola and hyperbola. Sagrada Famila and Parc Guell have several elements of parabolic and hyperbolic nature. Ruled surfaces are surfaces that are formed by moving a line in space. Some of the windows at Sagrada Famila exhibits Hyperboloids of One Sheet


Do you know of another WHS we could connect to Mathematical Concepts?

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A connection should:

  1. Not be "self evident"
  2. Link at least 3 different sites
  3. Not duplicate or merely subdivide the "Category" assignment already identified on this site.
  4. Add some knowledge or insight (whether significant or trivial!) about WHS for the users of this site
  5. Be explained, with reference to a source