How Do Architects Use Math in Their Career

Last Updated on August 12, 2022

You love math, and think it’s fun. But how exactly do architects use math in their career? Find out in this short video by watching a friendly architect use math in her designs.

Do Architects Need to be Good at Math? - archisoup | Architecture Guides &  Resources

Whether they’re designing buildings, bridges, or other structures, architects need to understand math in order to use it in their careers. From math concepts like geometry and algebra to more abstract skills like critical thinking and pattern recognition, architects rely on the sometimes surprising ways math plays a part in their jobs. Here is where we breakdown how architects use math in their career!

Do you know how many math skills architects use in their career on a daily basis? This blog post will detail the five math skills needed by an architect: geometry, proportions, algebra, calculus and trigonometry.

Use math daily to help you become a great architect! Math is all around us, from the buildings you see around you, to the numbers on a page and everything in between. Architectural jobs like Planner and Designer, as well as Architectural Technician and Draftsperson use math daily to help them in their careers.  When you’re an Architectural Technician or Draftsperson, you’ll use architectural software to design homes and buildings.

Architecture and Construction Through Mathematics - DreamBox Learning

A comprehensive article on how math is used in the field of architecture. A combination of relevant math review and practical career-building skills, this book not only provides a solid foundation in the basic theoretical approaches to math as it pertains to architecture, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus, but also provides real-world application examples that help you apply those mathematical techniques to your everyday practice as an architect.

Mathematics is one of several important fields of study that architects need to learn how to use in their careers. Some common math problems that architects encounter on a regular basis are calculating the number of cubic feet needed for a new home, the number of planks needed to cover an exterior wall and estimating the amount of paint needed for a room’s walls. Having knowledge about math will make an architect a better problem solver.

Architecture and Math | Life of an Architect

Learn how architects use math in their career to lay the ground work for everything from designing two towers that line up perfectly down to the millimeter, to figuring out how many bricks will be needed to fill an arch.

Geometry, algebra, and trigonometry all play a crucial role in architectural design. Architects apply these math forms to plan their blueprints or initial sketch designs. They also calculate the probability of issues the construction team could run into as they bring the design vision to life in three dimensions.

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Architecture is one of the oldest and most important professions in the world. Architects are responsible for designing everything from single-family homes to skyscrapers. But many people don’t realize how math plays an important role in this profession. A huge portion of architecture is based on mathematics. From geometry to physics, math enters each step of the design process

The architect must know how to use math in order to solve complex problems in their career. An architect will, at some point, need to explain his or her work to someone who has no knowledge of the field. Perhaps it would be for a school project or perhaps the mayor of the town in which they live in wants to know why their new park is not complete yet. Either way, they will need to explain what they do in terms of math so that people can understand.

Through multiple modeling techniques, architects are able to envision their design before building it. The real challenge starts after construction begins when unexpected hazards or complications occur. Architects have to use math to solve these problems and fix the situation before it is too late. By understanding the importance each each aspect of math, you can learn how to apply them correctly in your career as an architect.

How Do Architects Use Math In Their Career

Check Out These 5 Reasons

“Architects are engineers who can’t do maths.” Undoubtedly, you have heard this, or something along these lines by now, but the statement is definitely not true, and if you are yet to take your first steps in the field of architecture, don’t get deceived by such claims, for you absolutely need maths. 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 tool, some extra knowledge of mathematics might put you in a much better position. Now, check out our 5 reasons of why architects need maths.

1. 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. If you are American then you will need to know how to convert from inches to feet and from feet to miles, as well as from square feet to acres. If your practice is international, then you will need to know how to convert from one system to the other, like from feet to meters, from miles to kilometers, and from acres to hectares.

2. Figure Out Scale

On an architecture student’s first design assignment, it is required to draw a plan in 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. For metric system users as an example, a scale of 1:100 means that 100cm, in reality, are represented by 1cm on a drawing. Calculating a drawing’s measurements to scale requires knowledge of different units and cross multiplication.

Architecture and Math | Life of an Architect

3. 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. The golden ratio has some quite strong ties to what is also known as the Fibonacci numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 …) Mathematician Arthur Benjamin further explains this interesting relation in a quite amusing 6-minute TED Talk.

4. 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 tile. 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.

5. 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 which 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. Famous architectural examples, of the involvement of complicated math in design, to render something extraordinary, are the Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry, the Heydar Aliyev Center by Zaha Hadid, and 30 St. Mary Axe, known as the Gherkin, by Foster + Partners.

Do Architects Need to be Good at Math? - archisoup | Architecture Guides &  Resources

how do architects use radical expressions

Math plays a vital role in the practice of architecture. Architects use math to figure out how much materials they will need to build a structure, how large a building should be based on the number of people that will use it, and even how long it takes water from a roof to run off a building. Architects also regularly need to calculate costs for their clients so that they can create plans for houses and buildings that fit in with a client’s budget.

Architects use mathematics every day, but not all of them understand math deeply. For example, architects are famous for saying that the length of windows should be measured in “Sky Windows.” What do they mean by this? Lol!

Aesthetica Magazine - Radical Architecture

maths in modern architecture

Math is a great skill that can be used across all career fields. By honing your problem solving skills with math concepts, you’ll be able to solve problems in your personal life, job, or hobbies.

To become an architect, you must complete a degree program in architecture, participate in an internship and pass the Architect Registration Exam. Architects must have a strong knowledge of mathematical principles, so they can effectively plan and design buildings and other structures. Students must take several math classes in college to obtain a degree in architecture.

Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry

Algebra, geometry and trigonometry are prerequisites for taking Calculus, and Calculus is required to complete a degree program in architecture. Some students complete the algebra, geometry and trigonometry requirements in high school and can immediately start with calculus courses in college. Architecture students who didn’t take courses such as Geometry and Algebra II with Trigonometry in high school must take those classes or a similar ones in college.


Students pursuing a degree in architecture must take calculus courses. At the University of Illinois and Brigham Young University, students in an architecture degree program must take both Calculus I and II. The University of Illinois allows students to take beginning or intermediate physics courses in place of Calculus II, if they choose. Calculus and physics courses help students calculate structural issues, so they can design buildings that will hold up under the weight of materials and withstand interior and exterior forces.

Probability and Statistics

Some architectural degree programs require students to take a math class in probability and statistics, which helps architects analyze data such as geological and geographical information, structural specifications and construction optimization. When an architect estimates costs for labor, materials and machinery, he often uses statistical analysis to determine the best value for the money. Some computer software and modeling programs are designed to help architects analyze statistical data quickly and effectively so they can make informed real-world decisions

Linear Programming

Linear programming math classes help students learn to evaluate variable factors that affect design and construction. For example, linear programming enables architects to determine whether the cost of a particular design element will pay off in the long run or if it’s too expensive for the function and purpose it provides. Architects often design structures according to budgetary constraints, so linear programming makes cost and outcome analysis possible. Depending on the university, linear programming courses may be listed as part of the math department or the technology department.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, architecture students must complete a training period, usually in the form of an internship that lasts three or more years. Many students and graduates work for architectural or engineering firms to satisfy the requirement. Students who complete an internship while they’re still in school can apply that experience toward the 3-year training requirement. Graduates are not permitted to take the Architect Registration Exam until the internship is complete. Once a graduate passes the Architect Registration Exam, he may apply for state licensure as a practicing architect.

An Architect Uses Geometry -

mathematics in architecture essay

Mathematics has been a fundamental tool in the design process. Right from drawing or making plans, execution till finalization of building projects, architects, builders, and construction experts use it intentionally or unintentionally. If we peek into history, mathematicians were architects and vice-versa. One of the famously known mathematicians, Vitruvius, was also a well-known architect. Pythagoras readings were then used in the building proportions. Leonardo Da Vinci, who worked and used the golden ratio widely, was also an architect. The importance and presence of mathematics in architecture can be seen right from site analysis to the final facade design. The two are inseparable. 

Mathematics, though a technical science, is a crucial part of architectural design. One can never realize its enormous extent unless employed and worked upon. It can be beautifully applied both artistically and practically while generating a design proposal. Mathematics has a two-fold function, firstly it serves as the economic factors relevant to the proposed design solution. Through this method, one can decide the budget for the construction and maintenance with the help of floor area, heights, materials, and developments. 

The second role, which can be stated as the key segment of the design, includes size, proportions, and area division of the designed spaces are based on mathematical relations. 

Mathematics plays an equally vital role, whether the design is a renovation or new construction or an extension to the existing building. Size and scale definitely affect the user’s perspective and can create the atmosphere required. It is maths, which also helps in monitoring the construction maintenance to achieve a cost-effective design, as construction could turn out to be an expensive venture. 

Dramatically, it can be stated that mathematics, an essential factor in the architectural design process, remains behind the scene many times. And comes to notice when a piece of bad news or wrong solutions are highlighted when they face some issues. Wise and faithful use of mathematics in the process from the beginning will foster the project for potential success.

Mathematics, as much as is beneficial in ensuring design practicality, also adds an intangible element to the design in the form of beauty. The architectural design provides a basis, and mathematics supplements a design with beauty, life, and imagination. There have been numerous architects and designers who keep this thought close to their hearts. Despite the complexities involved in mathematics, its ultimate intention to create visual simplicity and satisfaction cannot be stressed enough. 

The importance and extent of Mathematics in Architecture - RTF | Rethinking  The Future

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