The creation of spaces lies at the heart of architectural design. To understand how people are affected by the configuration of space, is essential in order to create human-friendly, and thus, sustainable environments. This course follows an interdisciplinary approach for evaluating the ‘usability’ of buildings by learning basic principles of human-environment interaction. In this course you learn (1) basics of human-environment interaction (wayfinding and spatial cognition, social interaction, spatial experience) and research-based methods for building (usability) evaluation and (2) computational methods for quantifying spatial configurations for evaluating design proposals (regarding visibility, accessibility and daylight). The course includes case studies, impulse lectures, reflective tasks, and participation in walks through real and virtual buildings. Finally, you will conduct a small study and document it in a short paper. The seminar is mandatory for students of the project „Design by Research“.


Building Information Modeling ist in den letzten Jahren zu einem wesentlichen Bestandteil bei der Planung von Gebäuden geworden. Die Vorteile dieser Methode liegen auf der Hand: durch Erstellung eines konsistentes Datenmodells eines Gebäudeentwurfs lassen sich zahlreiche Informationen und Darstellungen ableiten und die Zusammenarbeit zwischen Planungsbeteiligten verbessern. Diese Vorteile lassen sich jedoch erst dann richtig nutzen, wenn man das Werkzeug zur Erstellung von Gebäudeinformationsmodellen vollständig beherrscht.

Im Kurs werden Studenten mit dem Konzept des Building Information Modeling vertraut gemacht. Anhand einer praktischen Aufgabe werden diese Kenntnisse vertieft. Die Aufgabe besteht darin, ein intelligentes BIM-Modell für einen bestimmten Gebäudetyp (z.B. Schule / Wohngebäude) zu erstellen. Auf Basis dieses Modells sollen Variationen des Gebäudetyps abgeleitet werden.

The potential of parametric modelling lies not only in facilitating the creation of complex shapes but rather in generating and validating a large number of variations of a certain design concept. Thus, it supports an essential part in the design process: the exploration of possibilities. In order to gain most benefit of this potential, it is necessary to understand how to construct shapes using simple and abstract rules, and to learn how to transform a design idea into a logical sequence of steps.

In this course, you will learn these skills in different practical exercises. These exercises are based on the idea of parametrizing urban types. Types can be described as solution concepts for a certain problem and are widely used in urban design (e.g. optimal organization of buildings for maximum built-up area or spatial relationships for fulfilling certain building usages). By creating parametric models of certain types, we will explore the variations that these types allow for. Thereby we will gain deeper insights into the topic of typology in urban design as well as into the design process itself.

Buildings are made for humans. So, the design of buildings requires architects to anticipate how humans will experience and behave in the planned environment. However, this is not an easy task, due to the vast amount of influencing factors on both sides - the physical environment (such as geometry, light, color) - and the human itself (different social backgrounds, expectations, age, etc.). This challenges the design of building and results in the fact that even architecturally remarkable buildings, are sometimes hard to understand for building users. We might ask, can’t science support designers here?

The role of science in design can be seen in identifying regularities in natural phenomena that can be used in the definition of building parameters. Whereas physical sciences found their way into the design of buildings (such as structural and thermal behaviour), sciences dealing with human behaviour and emotions (e.g. environmental psychology) are still lacking such an integration. 

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