This Slate slide-show
by Elizabeth Eaves, on the mathematical art of Kenneth Snelson
, has some lovely pictures, a good format, and deserves extra plaudits for delving into a difficult but fascinating topic. But somehow it's a little disappointing--Eaves keeps telling us that this art is mathematically sophisticated, and difficult to understand and therefore underappreciated, but doesn't try to explain the mathematics more deeply than cursorily describing the overall topic (the way components can exist in simultaneous tension and compression to create a flexible but stable structure) and citing prestigious science and engineering which has been inspired by Snelson's work.
But the beauty of science and engineering is precisely that it does not depend on authority--that in theory, at least, it should be explainable. I don't think this is Eaves' fault--in fact, I think she has done an admirable job, using every day examples like stone arches to explain what a standard compression-only structure is like. In the end, however, she must rely on metaphor and not the exact communication which is Mathematics' special province. I think the height of the bar is partially symptomatic of the great gulf that lies between the educated reader and a grasp of mathematical topics. On the other hand, this also seems like a particularly difficult topic. All of the explanations and websites I've found could benefit from more moving images, either animation or video.
It's incredibly beautiful stuff, and you have to wonder why more of it isn't being used in architecture. Lover of all things old and elegant that I am, if we're going to have modern architecture every where, we should really go for it.