In alignment with the rapid advancement of cyber-physical technologies in an information age, we are faced with complex problems that go beyond the kinds of challenges that designers had to deal with in the past. For many of these challenges we do not have established theories, methods, or tools to solve the problems. Therefore, it is critical for architects to not only have expertise in established design methods, but also to be able to rapidly and creatively develop new theories, skills, and technologies. This paper seeks to contribute to the core curriculum of architecture programs by exploring opportunities that benefit from advancements in computation as an innovative approach to teaching digital tools. The paper explores how computational thinking can be used in design as a new way of thinking, making, solving problems, and developing techniques and technologies to nurture creative processes, practices, and design outcomes.
The paper presents how advancements in technology and computation may change the process of design. Intelligent Design Systems are introduced as a successful example of teaching “Computational Methods” by the author in several architecture schools’ core sequences in the United States. Computational Methods introduces students to computational thinking and fundamental concepts of computation through explorations with generative and analytical technologies. The goal of the course is to explore and elaborate the potential of computation and the role it can play as a part of one’s design process; not as a collection of specific tools, but as a way of thinking about design.