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Do you need to be good at maths to be an architect?

Your mathematical ability should never be the factor that keeps you off architecture.

While yes, you need a basic understanding of algebra, geometry and trigonometry, I don’t think any work I am doing now, or to date (I am in my fourth year of university) has being beyond was required in my year 9 – 10 high school math classes.

To deal with the array of dimensions, quantities, area, volume and other geometric relationships that are needed in structural design, you are constantly working with numbers. I mean, daily! So while I stress that you don’t need to be exceptional at maths, you certainly do need an interest!

I personally think that spatial thinking is more complex than the pure maths element to the course. The logical application of maths in a building is what is more important… I’ve never used calculus in any of my projects, but developing logical patterns to solve problems is a daily event!

Ill give you an example, today my team were looking at the corner of a bridge walkway in a shopping centre.


The floor of the bridge and the wall needed to come together – to keep the bridge up, of course. The arrangement and sizing of the structural steel we were using was worked and re-worked until we got it to a point where there was enough of an offset with the steel beam to make the structure ‘work’. In this case we were working with simple dimensions and trigonometry for hours.

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That applies for every project I put together. Do I have enough space for all the parts I need? Do things line up? Are the design components equally spaced apart?

Simply, It isn’t the complexity of the maths that’s the challenge, it’s coming up with the problem in the first place.


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