Architecture & Ecology

Spring 2020
Fred Pearsall
ARCH 4227
ARCH 6227
In our time of climate change, this course brings together people and discourses from many disciplines in pursuit of more resilient social-ecological systems within our built environments through dialogue, interdisciplinary research, design, and action. The course provides introductions to design research methodologies, critical theories and practices of ecological science and thinking, and those of sustainability through readings and dialogue with distinguished researchers working in these areas. Each student develops, in dialogue with the seminar, a line of research investigating interrelationships between natural and cultural spheres and the design of the built environment—ones relevant to their individual interests and the world at large. In the process, students develop the following types of knowledge and skills during the course: understanding of key ideas and principles of ecological thinking, their historical construction and embedded values; understanding of dynamic interactions between natural and built environments and their implications for design; understanding of key global paradigms of ecological design--their key arguments, values, ethics, and impacts; understanding of current ecologically-oriented design research problems, methodologies, and applications; ability to develop and communicate new lines of ecologically-oriented research and creative problem-solving course procedure & organization. The course is structured as seminar with 4 parts: Part I: Seminar members unpack and present readings that explore ecology as historically-constructed ideas and principles that can be applied to the research and development of an interdisciplinary knowledge-base. Part II: Seminar members facilitate dialogues with distinguished researchers in different areas of research involving diverse interrelationships between natural and cultural systems within the built environment. Part III: Seminar members formulate their own ecological design research topic, questions, and methodologies, presenting them for feedback from the seminar. Part IV Seminar members conduct their ecological design research and construct proposals of new principles and/or design applications when appropriate, and present them for feedback from the seminar and invited guests. 
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