Was “Building Science” really the best we could come up with?

The big problem with Building Science is that we call it Building Science.

The academic study of buildings and their inhabitants is a young discipline; possibly even younger than Computer Science. The earliest articles in Building and Environment appear to date from 1966; Building Research & Information, from 1973. Like Computer Science, we have no single word for our field and are stuck with a compound. Most people seem content with Building Science, or perhaps Building Physics. The former has even been enshrined in a Wikipedia article.

But I dislike “Building Science”. I think it neither conveys the breadth of our field (ranging from the study of individual households to the optimal planning of cities) nor its depth. I find it to be both too vague and not specific enough.

But what, then, shall we call the study and science of buildings? Chemists study chemistry; biologists study biology; geologists study geology; is there an -ology that would describe our field?

I asked that question on English Language & Usage (one of my favorite Stack Exchange sites, by the way). My question didn’t quite get the attention I hoped for. I was expecting someone would come up with a nice-sounding greek root to which we could affix -ology and have a proper term, but the best we could come up with is the following:

I admit I am less than enthusiastic about them. I have to confess that another reason why I started this inquiry was that, just as there’s such a thing as Computational Chemistry and Computational Biology, I wanted a two-word phrase that would mean the application of computing techniques to the study and science of buildings. But I doubt we will be seeing the Journal of Computational Oikosology anytime soon…

If you have any better proposals, feel free to post them in the comments.

Posted on June 6, 2016 at 10:10 am by David Lindelöf · Permalink
In: Uncategorized

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