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Beyond Sustainability: Architectural Education in an Ever-Changing Climate

Within a rapidly changing climate, never have humans seen such rampant degradation of their environment.

Published onOct 24, 2019
Beyond Sustainability: Architectural Education in an Ever-Changing Climate
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Abstract

Within a rapidly changing climate, never have humans seen such rampant degradation of their environment. From water shortages and over-population to massive flooding and storms, we are beginning to test strategies of resilience at the urban and architectural scale. With the scientific evidence of our warming climate system being unequivocal, design professionals must be cognizant of the impact of these changes on theory, pedagogy, and practice. An integrated and resilient approach to ecological design of buildings, landscapes and communities within this changing climate is imperative. Too often we teach students to look solely at technological means as the solution to our ailing building design, however it is important to understand precise constraints of climate to produce rigorous design solutions. This starts with a knowledge of larger environmental systems.

This paper will outline a three-pronged approach recently employed to ensure undergraduate design students grasp larger frameworks impacting the future of architectural practice within the Anthropocene. Using varied modes of interrogation, students are required to delve more deeply into a series of analytical exercises developed collaboratively to elicit thoughtful, appropriate and responsible massing, orientation and material strategies throughout the sequence. By designing an extensive framework beyond the simplistic, superficial separatism of modernism, the designer is enabled to understand architecture as in an open-exchange with the larger bioclimatic, social and ecological worlds.

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