Inquiry into Design and Computation | The Penn State Stuckeman School Skip to main content

Inquiry into Design and Computation

If you are interested in learning about how computational tools, thinking, and methods – such as CAD scripting or virtual reality, rule based and parametric design, and intelligent and responsive design – as well as how visual calculating can work for and impact design this course is for you.

The course provides a broad overview of computational tools, thinking, and methods in used in design. It will focus on the following three questions: (1) What makes design a unique computational domain compared to other fields that use computing such as computer science or biology, for example?; (2) What parts of design can be assisted with computation and automation in a useful and productive way and what parts are not?; and (3) How can you use these kinds of tools, thinking, and methods critically for your own design work?

Topics will expose students to key design computational paradigms such as: visual calculating; rule-based design; parametric practices; spatial syntax; pattern language; simulation and modeling; intelligent and augmented spaces and cities; digital fabrication; and computational materials. Students will look at computation done by hand and computation done by machines with the emphasis on understanding computation broadly through theories of the body, historical, political, and social developments that shape how computation has been engaged in design today; thus, offering students the opportunity to consider computation processes, concepts, and theories apart from specific tools and technical skills. The course is structured as a series of two class modules where a topic is engaged first through presented case studies and theoretical readings and secondly through hands on design work and analysis.

Note: This is a required subject for first year Post Professional and Ph.D. students in the Design and Computation cluster in the Stuckeman School; however, it is open to interested students from other areas and departments.

Landscape Architecture
PSU code: 
ARCH 497/LARCH 497
Course duration: 
August, 2016
Course coordinator: 

Coordinator: Felecia Davis
Faculty: Guests from the Design Computing Cluster and Other Departments at the University.

Related people: 
Research Unit Connections: 
Stuckeman Center for Design Computing