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Experimental Learning: Mathematica's Role in Teaching Architecture

Philippe Morel, School of Architecture Paris-Malaquais

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"Mathematica gives us access to a rich geometry and I would say a variety of mathematical tools, which are not accessible in regular modeling geometric software."
The Mathematica Edge
  • Solve complex analytic geometry problems to design new structures
  • Work with materials properties and other data from Wolfram|Alpha
  • Calculate the expected stresses and strains on material as it is deformed and analyze deformation data to determine its stiffness and strength


As an associate professor at the School of Architecture Paris-Malaquais, Philippe Morel needs a program that can handle the extremely variable data his architecture students need while still providing room for experimentation.


Classical architectural software often has architectural concepts built in. Morel sees these constructs—things like columns, beams, doors, windows and insulation—as too limiting for students. With Mathematica, students can arrive at solutions through different methods. Where once architectural study focused almost solely on geometric modeling, it now includes code handling and algorithm handling.


In addition to giving students access to tools that are not accessible in regular modeling geometric software, Morel finds that Mathematica's interactivity with Wolfram|Alpha and its image analysis capabilities are especially useful for students. All of these elements combined allow Morel to encourage open, experimental learning in the classroom.

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