Math in Engineering

Mathematics and Architecture

How has math been used historically in architecture?

Historically, there has been a great connection between architecture and mathematics. Ancient mathematicians were architects and vice versa, using their skills to build pyramids, temples, aqueducts, cathedrals, and a range of other architectural structures we find beautiful and awesome today. For example, in ancient Greece and Rome, architects were required to also be mathematicians. During medieval times, most buildings and structures carried some symbolic reference to the church; the mathematical end of architecture was almost forgotten during this time. By the European Renaissance around 1400, a new kind of architecture developed that emphasized mass and interior space to produce aesthetically pleasing “pictures” similar to those found in paintings and sculptures. This led to an entirely new way of looking at architecture and altered its connection to mathematics.


The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan is the world’s longest suspension bridge, stretching almost 13,000 feet across the Akashi Strait near Kobe. Careful engineering was needed to make the bridge stable not only on routine days, but also in case of days when there are earthquakes in the geologically active region.


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