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Complexity and simplicity - tensions in teaching computation to large numbers of architecture students

Spaeth, Achim Benjamin, Dounas, Theodoros and Kieferle, Joachim 2016. Complexity and simplicity - tensions in teaching computation to large numbers of architecture students. Presented at: eCAADe Conference, Oulu, Finland, 24-28 August 2016. Published in: Herneoja, Aulikki, Österlund, Toni and Markkanen, Piia eds. Complexity & Simplicity - Proceedings of the 34th eCAADe Conference. Oulu, Finland: University of Oulu, pp. 229-236.

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This paper describes the challenges and approaches to introduce computational thinking to a large and diverse group of architecture students. Set up as an international one week workshop with 300 participating students from different cultural backgrounds and educational levels it also integrated a diverse group of tutors whose computational expertise ranged from not existent to high level expertise. The approach suggested to articulate a design task which enforced computational, systematic or algorithmic thinking but enabled different levels of engagement with actually using computer as tools. Hypothetically this would allow all students and tutors to engage with the computational thinking agenda regardless their computational affinity even whilst applying analogue methods. In the further course of the paper some of the approaches to the design task will be exemplified and discussed. In the larger perspective of the workshop it was evident that there was a great engagement with the computational agenda even from students and staff who rather avers to the use of computers. A key element in the conception of the workshop was the provision of predefined algorithms to ease the initial access to the use of the computational tools. The projects resulting from the one week workshop demonstrated different achievements in terms of computational thinking ranging from grid solutions, over simple continuous patterns, to the implementation of L-systems to overlapping and interconnected patterns creating a continuum with disruptions based on function, environmental conditions and topographic influences. Besides the intercultural experience the workshop was successful in exposing a large group of students and tutors to the concepts of computational design whilst accommodating different learning preferences and engagement with the computer as a device.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Publisher: University of Oulu
ISBN: 9789491207105
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 June 2017
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2019 09:39

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