Peer-reviewed article in the Nexus Network Journal: Architecture and Mathematics

Citation: Vardouli T “Skeletons, Shapes, and the Shift from Surface to Structure in Architectural Geometry.” Nexus Network Journal 22, pp. 487–505.

Abstract: Architects that digitally manipulate geometry confront a rift between what is being displayed on the screen (metric shapes) and what is being computed (their non-metric skeletons). This article critically reads this relationship between surface appearance and abstract structure against a historical backdrop of changing attitudes toward the visual world in postwar architectural and mathematical cultures. First, it examines skeletal (graph theoretic) representations of floor plan geometry advanced in centres of architectural research at the University of Cambridge and the Open University. Then, it interprets this work’s technical and discursive outputs in the context of contemporaneous disciplinary and pedagogical debates around geometry in British mathematics. By positioning skeletons (graphs) in a genealogy of ambivalence toward concrete appearance, this article seeks to activate critical historical perspectives on descriptions of geometry currently reified in computer software.