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“.


Cities are complex human made objects. They consist of thousands of elements and need to satisfy numerous human needs. The definition of urban form (street network, plots, buildings) is a crucial step in the planning of cities because it has the longest lasting effect on their social, economic and ecological performance. Thus, this step needs to be undertaken with greatest care. In this course we will deal with computational methods to support this process. Firstly, you will learn to create parametric models, that allow to quickly generate a large amount of design variants. Secondly, you will get introduced to spatial analysis methods (density, visibility and accessibility) in order to identify different (human centered) qualities of the generated urban forms.

The theories and methods you learn in this class provide the basic theoretical and technological framework for integrated urban development and design, which we will further deepen in the study project in the next semester.

The knowledge provided through online seminars will be deepened in consultations and documented in several exercises.

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.

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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