Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mathematics in Architecture

I have been reading your blog and have found it to be very informative as I research the possibility of becoming an architect; thank you. I was hoping you could answer a question for me if you have some extra time.

I've been thinking of going back to school to become an architect. I hold a bachelors degree in Mass Communication-Advertising and have art courses under my belt. I've also been working as a freelance graphic designer for the past year. I've always been intrigued by the design of buildings and homes, lighting, and the materials used since I was a child. I drive around town just to look at homes and buildings and look through the architecture books at the bookstore and get excited about the designs and wish I could create them myself. A recent career assessment even suggested architecture as a possible career.

However, my ability in the math department isn't too great and that is why I ended up pursuing an education in advertising. How math intensive is the career of an architect? Is it so much that I may become miserable? I don't doubt my creative ability and I'm willing to work as hard as I need to to be successful. The descriptions of an architect's job that I read are so broad and doesn't help me much. How important is the mathematical ability vs. the artistic eye of an architect in the grand scheme of things?

I'd love to know more before I plunge into pursuing a new career and hope to hear from you soon.

First, I am pleased to hear that the has been informative for you.

As to your question. As you might guess, mathematics is a part of architecture but not the most important part. One could argue that CREATIVITY is most important which you possess.

With that said, please note that some graduate programs in architecture do require candidates to take calculus while others highly recommend it. However, you will never actually use calculus in your professional life. For some, calculus is a way of thinking; this is what is important, not the actual calculus work. You would need to research the graduate programs to determine their prerequisites. Some also require a freehand drawing course and also physics.

The calculus and physics also help in preparing you for the structures courses in a program that do require calculations. In other words, you do need to use mathematics, but it should NOT be a reason to prevent you from becoming an architect.

Architects and architecture students live on either side of the creative/technical side. You will live on the creative side, but you will need to know the technical side to become an architect. Depending on when you graduated, you may wish to take a mathematics course from a local community college to reactivate your knowledge. But, begin to research programs and work on your portfolio for admission.

Websites to view include --


ARCHSchools -

Dr. Architecture


Gabriel Kroiz said...

Nice blog
I was searching for material, particularly a textbook to reccomend for a math course for architects. Your blog came up, let me know if there is anything.
Gabriel Kroiz

Rany Rose said...

Hi..I'm an architect, I like the information about architecture design. Your blog in very nice and you have a great posts.. Visit me back at and comment in my post about Architecture Lights. Thnks..

Unknown said...

i want to be an architect someday but it scares me because my math skills are weak, but im visual arts talented i liked what you said about the architecture design, im looking forward to face this dream. thanks for posting this blog, im just 15 by the way :))

Dr. Architecture said...

Ella - send me a direct email to; granted, you will need to accomplish calculus as part of becoming an architect, but there is no reason to be scared.