Chair of Architectural Informatics

Wave, Roofstructure by Stefan Kaufmann and Gerhard Schubert

The professional profile of architects is changing constantly. As a result, research and teaching needs to increasingly focus on medium and long-term technologies and systems. Emphasis should therefore be given to communicating the fundamentals and underlying principles of the individual programs to communicate a broad common basis. It is nevertheless additionally necessary to learn the operation of software systems currently available on the market as students need to able to experience their use in practice and not just in theory.

To address these different issues adequately, teaching needs to be multifaceted: it should cover the communication of theoretical principles and the practical use of available tools as well as foster an ongoing discourse on emerging technologies. Collaboration with other departments within the faculty as well as with other disciplines is essential. Integrates teaching concepts allow students to explore the boundaries as well as common ground between analogue and digital tools. Architecture education needs to be interdisciplinary and realistic on the one hand and research oriented on the other - it should deal with both theoretical and practcal aspects. In this way, the next generation of architect will not only be able to use the available tools appropriately in the work process and to critically assess their relevance, but will also be able to explore new means and solutions - to shape their tools and not just use them as an end user.

The focus of research at schools of architecture is concerned not with problems of current architectural practice but with forward-looking solutions for the medium term - such is the speed of developments in the field of information technology. A fundamental part of the field of architectural informatics ist the formulation of requirements for digital tools based on an analysis of the activities of architects. From this, together with a detailed knowledge of emerging technologies, it is then possible to draw up concepts and develop prototypical solutions for testing and evaluation.

The challenge is, therefore, to adopt an open and critical approach to examining new methods and technologies - to identify their potential for the profession and develop ways in which we can benefit from their application. This in turn opens up new fields of activities that change and expand the classical role of the architect. A central topic of research is the use of computers in gerneral as a comprehensive design and planning medium. Here there are three complementary approaches to research - theory, application and experimentation - each of which is explored through interdisciplinary work.

"Theory" encompasses a historical consideration of the computer as a cultural technology as well as the critical reflection of designing with and on comuters. "Application" research examines relevant long- and medium-term aspects of the computer aided support of the working process. Finally, the field of "experimentation" examines how we can exploit new media and technologies in the context of architecture.