The golden ratio is a mathematical ratio, and it is theorised that buildings, faces, or artworks closest to this ratio are the most well-balanced and aesthetically pleasing.
Keen to utilise this theory further, The Knowledge Academy set out to determine how close university buildings across Europe align with the golden ratio and which universities are the most beautiful, according to science.
1st – University of Bucharest, Romania
Ranking as the most beautiful university in Europe is the University of Bucharest in Romania. The Central Library of Bucharest University, designed by French architect Paul Gottereau, opened its doors in 1895. A project of King Carol I, it is not only beautiful but also known as a cultural landmark. The building’s width-to-height ratio is 1.522, giving it an astonishing 94.07% similarity to the golden ratio, making it an almost aesthetically perfect building, according to science.
2nd – University of Catania, Italy
In second place is Palazzo dell’Università, or Palace of the University, a beautiful palace and home to the University of Catania, the oldest university in Sicily. Its width-to-height ratio of 1.788 gives it a huge 89.5% similarity with the golden ratio. Constructed after the 1693 earthquake, it is an iconic landmark and symbol of Catanian baroque architecture.
3rd – University of Oxford, England
Ranking third is the historic University of Oxford in England. The iconic Radcliffe Camera is a neo-classical building that houses the Radcliffe Science Library. The ‘Rad Cam’ is the first example of a circular library in England, and its 1.437 ratio makes it 88.79%, similar to the golden ratio.
4th – Paris-Sorbonne University, France
In fourth place is the historic Sorbonne University building, which lies in the heart of the Latin Quarter and is an iconic feature of Parisian architecture. The stunning building has a 1.9 width-to-height ratio, giving it an 82.56% similarity to the golden ratio.
5th – Aarhus University, Denmark
Ranking fifth is Aarhus University in Denmark. The campus is centred around the stunning University Park, which spans 15 hectares, and the main building sits at the park’s northern edge. As well as its minimalist yet stunning architecture, the building’s width-to-height ratio of 1.907 shares an 82.17% similarity with the golden ratio.