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Integrating Computing Skills in Architecture Curriculum
Since 2023

Anahita Khodadadi, Yunjeong Chang

This proposal aims to re-design the curriculum of the graduate courses to integrate the development of computational thinking skills. The proposal specifically targets graduate students in architecture as one of the representative groups of non-CS majors but increasingly requires computational thinking. Architecture programs traditionally prioritize teaching the artistry and technicalities of designing physical spaces that only require abilities to utilize design software. However, as the field of architecture undergoes a paradigm shift, the building industry increasingly relies on using computer-aided design (CAD) tools for making complex and multi-disciplinary design decisions, and the limited integration of computational thinking in architectural education becomes more conspicuous. Yet, a limited number of courses are systematically introduced to the students who need to develop computational thinking skills or programming skills. The shift from designing physical spaces to crafting lines of code requires a distinct cognitive adjustment, and many find themselves grappling with the intricacies of algorithmic thinking. Students often face roadblocks in comprehending programming languages and struggle to troubleshoot errors in their code. Unlike the intuitive and visual nature of architectural design, programming demands a precision that may be less forgiving of conceptual ambiguity.

Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the challenges and gaps in the integration of programming skills and computer science knowledge into architecture education as a representative group of non-STEM majors. Through a series of qualitative case studies, the cognitive challenges of the students will be diagnosed first. Based on the diagnosis, an introductory to advanced programming curriculum will be developed by considering appropriate instructional strategies to solve the learning challenges. The new programming-integrated curriculum will be designed with the participation of the students (participatory design perspective) and then the impact of the curriculum will be measured through anthropological/phenomenological approaches.


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