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Computer visualization and *simulation as a medium for architectural and urban history pedagogy

, University of California, Los Angeles, United States

University of California, Los Angeles . Awarded


The fields of architectural and urban history are being transformed. This change is a part of the larger revolution in the very nature of visual communication, and is propelled by advances in computer visualization and communications technology. With this change there is the potential not only to refine the methods and tools of existing historic research, but also to redefine the traditional approaches to teaching, using the new technologies and new techniques in the research and teaching of architectural and urban history. The purpose of this dissertation is to implement real-time visualization in the architectural history classroom, compare the effective implementation of computer visualization and simulation in teaching architectural and urban history with the traditional comparative method and its medium, the slide projection system for both students of architecture and students from other disciplines studying architectural history.

First investigated is the pedagogy of architectural and urban history, as employed by those teaching in professional schools of architecture. The emphasis is on perception and visual material, exploring the techniques and media historically employed in the teaching of architecture and urban history to students of architecture. The comparative method, developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was in part a result of the concurrent advances in theory and the new photographic media, and reached its culmination with the development of the slide projector. The combination of technique and media, though revolutionary at the time, changed little with later technological advances, and still shapes the way architectural and urban history is taught, represented and discussed. Slide projection and other media and methodologies will be examined and placed in historic and theoretical contexts. Research for the dissertation will focus on the relationship between educational theory and the history of architectural and urban history pedagogy.

Second, based on the background research of architectural and urban history pedagogy and the evaluation of concurrent architectural history and computer visualization projects within the UCLA Department of Architecture, digital content will be designed, implemented and formatively evaluated in an architectural history classroom setting. The visualization content and methodology will be compared with the traditional dual slide methodology for the representation of select experiential aspects of architecture: scale, movement, spatial and temporal context for two student user groups, students of architecture and those from other disciplines studying architectural history.

The developed content will focus on select historic buildings from the canon of architectural history, as well as historic building typologies (e.g. the basilica building type from Roman to early Christian periods), visualizing temporal, scale, material and structural information. Response of the students, teachers and teaching assistants to the new digital content and methods in the classroom environment in comparison to traditional materials will be formatively evaluated through working meetings, comments and resource rankings and ratings for the purpose of simplifying content delivery and eliminating issues of concern voiced by all user groups. Of special interest are those areas of difference between the architectural and non-architectural student user groups.

Results of the study of architectural and urban history pedagogy and the formative evaluation of the developed material will be published as recommendations for the use of simulation technology in the teaching of architecture and urban history.


Abernathy, D.L. Computer visualization and *simulation as a medium for architectural and urban history pedagogy. Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Los Angeles. Retrieved March 1, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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