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A New Train Station in Cambridge Has Sparked Controversy Among Mathematicians

09:30 - 3 June, 2017

A new train station in Cambridge is getting a lot of attention from a surprising audience: mathematicians. Cambridge North Station is clad in aluminum panels with a geometrical cutout design. The architecture firm, Atkins, originally claimed that the pattern was derived from Cambridge alumnus John Conway’s “Game of Life,” but eagle-eyed mathematicians soon realized that was incorrect. As the above video points out, the design is in fact based on a mathematical rule studied by Stephen Wolfram, an Oxford alumnus, much to the dismay of rival university Cambridge. Though the firm’s website still references Conway, a Senior Architectural Designer at Atkins, Quintin Doyle, has since confirmed that it was, in fact, Wolfram’s Rule 30 that they used in the design.

The Simplicity of Iranian Architecture's Complex Geometry

09:30 - 17 February, 2017
The Simplicity of Iranian Architecture's Complex Geometry, © Ariana Zilliacus
© Ariana Zilliacus

Iran’s geography consists largely of a central desert plateau, surrounded by mountain ranges. Due to the country being mostly covered by earth, sand, and rock, Iranian architecture makes fantastic use of brick or adobe elements. Most of the buildings seen in larger cities such as Tehran and Isfahan are constructed using similar brick-laying methods as can been seen in other parts of the world, but certain constructions, usually ones that date further back, contain incredible geometrical treasures. And it doesn’t stop there - old Iranian architecture often contains a layer of tiles over the brick constructions that can create just as mesmerizing geometrical wonders. The art of creating complexity by using many incredibly simple elements is one that has been mastered in Iran. In an architectural world where construction has become hidden by layers of plaster and plywood, we could learn a lot from the beauty of Iran’s structural geometry, where skin and structure are (almost always) one and the same.

© Ariana Zilliacus © Ariana Zilliacus © Ariana Zilliacus © Ariana Zilliacus +37