Mathematical Tendencies with Their Influence on Scandinavian Architectural Design


Since ancient times, mathematics and architecture have been related. In ancient Egypt, Greece and India, buildings were laid out with specific proportions. It was applied to pyramids, mosques, temples and palaces mostly because of religious reasons. Today, architects still use math and geometry in multiple ways. For example, these two are needed to define the spatial form of a building, create harmonious forms, lay out buildings according to aesthetic principles and decorate them. Learn more about mathematical tendencies with their influence on Scandinavian architectural design.

Scandinavian architecture
Scandinavian architecture is a relatively new concept that emerged in the early part of the last century. When speaking of this style, it incorporates clean lines and generous use of natural light. Scandinavian architecture draws direct inspiration from nature. It also focuses on creating ecologically sustainable and energy-efficient buildings.

Scandinavian aesthetic is both simple and comfortable, modern and traditional. Architects incorporating this style are experts at blending vernacular styles with up-to-date technology. This way, they create a beautiful space that aims to make people’s lives better.

One of the core characteristics of the Scandinavian approach is minimalism. That means designs usually have a lack of decoration, being functional and balanced. Alongside a sense of simplicity, Scandinavian buildings make an impression of being inviting.

Mathematical Tendencies with Their Influence on Scandinavian Architectural Design
Scandinavian architecture incorporates clean lines and generous use of natural light. Photo: Pexels

The most famous architecture agencies in Scandinavia
A lot of spectacular architects come from a land of fjords and sky-scraping mountains. Since they are inspired by the surrounding landscapes, they can create harmonious works of Scandinavian design. Let’s consider some of the most renowned architecture companies.

Biotope specializes in unique natural designs.
Rever & Drage makes unusual residential spaces for the Scandinavian market.
Reiulf Ramstad Architects is known for its simple architecture connected to the Norwegian landscape.
Helen & Hard sees opportunities for experimentation in every project.
Jensen & Skodvin gained an international reputation for its modern buildings.
JVA believes buildings should be interesting rather than conventionally “pretty”.
Kleihues + Kleihues makes timeless modern designs.
Rintala Eggertsson strives to combine architecture and art for family homes and workspaces, using “space, light materials, and the human body”.
Saunders focuses on exploring dynamic architecture that shapes human interaction.

The mathematics of design
Students usually place math in the list of the most challenging college classes. And no wonder why! This subject is really complicated. Especially when it’s taught by unprofessional instructors. If you have difficulty understanding equations and inequalities or other math concepts, you can always get help online. Luckily, there are a lot of websites that provide clear explanations on any topic and inspire you to learn more about different things. So, if you would like to dig deeper into the mathematics of design, keep reading the article!

Mathematical Tendencies with Their Influence on Scandinavian Architectural Design

The Fibonacci sequence shown alongside a statue of Fibonacci (Leonardo of Pisa).The Fibonacci sequence
There is a special sequence of numbers, which is called the Fibonacci sequence: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and 55. Why is it special? Because if you take a closer look at it, you will see that every number is the sum of the two prior numbers. How does it relate to art and design? So, imagine that each number is a shape. For example, if the number 1 represents a 1-inch square and the 55 is a 55-inch square, then the combination of those squares can form the golden rectangle. You can find this rectangle in Scandinavian architecture.

Mathematical Tendencies with Their Influence on Scandinavian Architectural Design
Sun Temple Modhera is an example of fractal architecture. Photo: Researchgate

Fractals are basically repeating patterns created via the mathematics of design. By the way, they appear in nature, for example in crystals, blood cells, snowflakes, waves, DNA, citrus fruit, and animal color patterns. Fractals can be noticed regardless of scale. To understand this concept better, imagine that you are using a microscope and no matter how closely you zoom in, you will continue to see the same repeating patterns, which is known as self-similarity. Fractals can be created with mathematical formulas and it’s believed that they are both soothing and aesthetically pleasing. That’s why fractals are often used in Scandinavian design.

Mathematical Tendencies with Their Influence on Scandinavian Architectural Design
Polyhedra in architecture. Photo: Worldarchitecture

A polyhedron is defined as a 3D structure that consists of polygons joined along their edges. For centuries, architects have incorporated polyhedra into designs. Nowadays, this approach distinguishes buildings among thousands of others. Polyhedral nets contain fascinating patterns that you can often see in mosaics and houses with geometric patterns.

Mathematical Tendencies with Their Influence on Scandinavian Architectural Design – Final thoughts
Undoubtedly, math and architecture are inextricably linked. Since the human brain appreciates consistency, mathematics goes hand in hand with architectural design. Many construction concepts, including symmetry, balance, exactness, and proportion, have direct ties to mathematical discoveries. So, if you are an architect or you are going to start a career in this field, you should know how to incorporate math principles into your work. Hopefully, now you understand how mathematics can act as a game-changer.

Mathematical Tendencies with Their Influence on Scandinavian Architectural DesignMathematical Tendencies with Their Influence on Scandinavian Architectural Design, written exclusively for Daily Scandinavian by Emma Rundle. Emma is an architect and writer. She publishes articles in popular design magazines, sharing her insights on modern architecture. In her free time, Emma enjoys watching documentaries about the history of architecture and writes her own web blog.

Other articles by Emma Rundle:
The top 3 secrets to Scandinavian innovation in education 
How the Nordics Are Standing Up to Climate Change 
Scandinavian Universities: 5 Tips on How to Choose

Feature image (on top) by kind permission from Pexels