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Understanding people, spaces and spatial cognition

"We shape our buildings, thereafter our buildings shape us," said Winston Churchill. The physical space in which humans live and work has far-reaching implications for the nature and quality of everyday life and experiences. Understanding the space surrounding us has been a challenge for many disciplines: Architects conceptualize and shape space by designing buildings and cities. Cognitive scientists, such as psychologists, research human understanding of and behavior in physical space. Computer scientists strive to represent the three-dimensional space in which we function with mathematical computations and systems for design.

Traditionally there has been only limited overlap between academic disciplines and design stakeholders. But bridging disciplines requires questions about the relationship between art and the science of design: analytic perspective vs. the synthesis of design creation; empirical evidence vs. design intuition; technological support vs. creative autonomy.

Panelists from the School of Architecture at Carnegie Melon University (Pittsburgh, PA), the Cognitive Systems Group at University of Bremen (Germany), the Department of Architecture at Technion Israel Institute of Technology (Israel) and the Center for Cognitive Science at the University of Freiburg (Germany) will discuss how the application of their field-specific knowledge across disciplines can provide real benefit for the theory and professional practice of architectural design.

This public event is part of the Spatial Cognition for Architectural Design (SCAD) symposium which is jointly funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). To learn more and to register, please visit


Contact: Andrea Deierlein
German Center for Research and Innovation

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