My wife and I recently were blessed to visit Paris, and spent an afternoon at La Grande Arche, Paris, which houses government offices.
I videoed a short clip about using public buildings in any city to teach symmetry and other math topics. La Grande Arche (in French, ‘The Big Arch’) exhibits both reflectional, or mirror, symmetry and rotational, or point, symmetry. Lots of other public buildings offer similar opportunities for investigating this sort of math topic.
N.B. If the QuickTime link is not displayed above, use the YouTube version of the video at the bottom of this page.
La Grande Arche, Paris, France –
Google Map of location (interactive map):
View La Grande Arche, Paris in a larger map
Brisbane City Hall – Another example of public symmetry
In the latter part of the video I refer to a public building local to where I live, Brisbane City Hall. This beautiful civic building, inaugurated in 1930, is an example of a potential excursion location for teachers who teach in this area in Queensland, Australia. Here is a beautiful photograph from the Organ Historical Trust of Australia, showing the organ and part of the Concert Hall. The photographer has stood exactly on the line of symmetry in the hall, showing clearly the identical left and right sides of the space:
From the outside, this photo clearly shows the same symmetrical feature of the building exterior:
Check out the following sites which include photographs of the building which demonstrate the symmetry which is the subject of this podcast episode:
- Brisbane’s Unique Venues – has a beautiful image of the interior of the concert hall
- Brisbane Times – a colour photo of the exterior tops this local news item from 2009
- Organ Historical Trust of Australia – a long page about the organ in city hall and its restoration, with a number of interesting photographs
- Spectrum News – provides a copy of the original plans for city hall in colour, showing lots of symmetry that might not otherwise be apparent