Amalgamating sustainable design strategies into architectural curricula

Article English OPEN
Elnokaly, Amira ; Elseragy, Ahmed (2009)
  • Publisher: Sustainability Collection / Common Ground
  • Subject: K100 Architecture
    acm: ComputingMilieux_COMPUTERSANDEDUCATION

In the era of climate change, rising sea levels, the hole in the ozone layer and current food crisis, sustainability is no longer a matter of choice; it is a must. While the term sustainability manages to embed itself in all aspects of contemporary life, sustainability in the built environment requires special attention. Designs created by architects and planners play a fundamental part in shaping the way we live, behave and interact with our surroundings. Smith (2001) argued that instilling sustainable design in curricula at schools of architecture is a significant method of encouraging sustainable architectural design in practice. This is particularly important in non-sustainable societies such as those of the Middle East. For these reasons, this study aims at exploring ‘sustainability strategies,’ as they may be described, adopted in different schools of architecture. The research surveys architectural curricula at different Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) exempted schools of Architecture, at part 1 and 2 levels. Meanwhile, it also observes the contradiction and difficulties of teaching sustainable architectural design in Egyptian and Middle Eastern societies, whose cultural fabric does not encourage environmental awareness. Finally, the study attempts to investigate, in an increased level of detail, how sustainable design education fits into the undergraduate and postgraduate curricula of the Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design Department (AEED) at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) in Alexandria, Egypt. The paper concludes that the proper application of sustainable design strategies at early stages of architecture education has developed architects with sturdy understanding of their environment, climate and local identity, which can never happen if this is addressed in postgraduate studies or at later stages of the Architecture career.
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