Shivani recently got in touch with me, saying that she wanted to study for her honors thesis the connection of mathematics and architecture in Antoni Gaudi's work. I thought I'd never heard of the guy. A quick search shows that he's exactly the architect that I already admired from his catenary work. What a great coincidence!
As it turns out, catenaries are just one of the amazing mathematical shapes that Gaudi used in his work. He really dug deep in the ol' mathematical bullpen, calling up helicoids, hyperboloids, and some of their even more esoteric mathematical cousins. To cap it all off, he tossed a magic square (sort of; his has repeat entries) on the side of his most famous work, the Sagrada Familia church. Who was this guy?
I'm so excited that Shivani's going to unravel some of this fascinating story. She's currently trying to whittle such a big space down to a manageable project. If anyone has interesting leads, whether on mathematics in architecture, a good primer on the mathematical nature of some of these ruled surfaces, or on Gaudi himself, I'm sure she would be appreciative.