“What does your Building Compute, Mr. Foster?” How Computer Science Students can Learn from Architecture and the Built Environment

David Claveau


The buildings in which we live and work represent a repository of design inspiration for computer scientists. There is much to learn from the many problems and solutions that these buildings embody. This paper presents an approach for computer scientists and computer science students to find inspiration in the architecture around them. It discusses how a computational view can be taken when experiencing architecture. It then shows how this can be used in the computer science curriculum to provide students with a broader view of what it means to compute. A fieldwork approach is described in which students get away from their desks and enter the world around them to look for inspiration.