How can behavioral and cognitive science inform architecture? This project-oriented seminar investigates contributions of cognitive science to architectural design with an emphasis on orientation and navigation in complex buildings and urban settings. It includes theories on spatial memory and decision-making as well as hands-on observations of behavior in real and virtual reality.
Taking the perspectives of building users (occupants and visitors) is vital for a human-centered design approach. Students will learn about relevant theory and methods in cognitive science and environmental psychology that can be used to understand human behavior in built environments. The foundations of environmental psychology and human spatial cognition will be introduced. A focus of the seminar will be on how people perceive their surroundings, how they orient in a building, how they memorize the environment and how they find their way from A to B. Students will also learn about a range of methods including real-world observation, virtual reality experiments, eye-tracking and behavior simulation for design. Students will reflect on the roles of designers and other stakeholders with respect to human-centered design and an evidence-based design perspective. The seminar is geared towards a mix of students from architecture / planning, engineering, computer science and behavioral science as well as anybody interested in the relation between design and cognition. Architecture students can obtain course credit in "Vertiefungsfach" or "Wahlfach"