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Department of Architecture

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Ecological and Sustainable Design

Ecological and Sustainable Design (ESD) focuses on the theory and practice of architectural and environmental design that makes maximum use of the same renewable energy flows and material cycling processes by which all other living systems on earth are sustained. It is an approach to design that is holistic in nature, encompassing a concern for ecological systems, building technological systems, and socio-cultural/existential systems. Ecological systems are studied not only as the context for architecture but also as models for design, providing the fundamental principles by which sustainable buildings are designed and operated. Energy and resource conserving building technologies as well as healthy and ecologically benign building materials are studied so that ecological design principles can be implemented in environmentally appropriate architecture.

The emphasis also stresses the socio-economic, political, and cultural/existential context of design as a complexly structured framework within which questions of sustainability must be considered and building designs implemented. The ESD option necessarily involves the development of a broad understanding of architectural and environmental design that is as much philosophical as it is practical.

Required coursework
Non-Thesis Option
ARCH 716Topics in Environmental Systems3
ARCH 725Research Methods/Architecture3
ARCH 830Advanced Architectural Studies5-8
Electives 16-19
Total Credits 30
Thesis Option
ARCH 716Topics in Environmental Systems3
ARCH 725Research Methods/Architecture3
ARCH 899Thesis8
Electives 16
Total Credits 30

All MS Arch students will be required to take a class that provides them with the tools to facilitate in-depth academic research. This class, Research Methods in Architecture, also includes graduate students in Landscape Architecture and Regional and Community Planning. Other coursework will be determined by the selected area of emphasis and individual programs of study.

Recommended Elective Credits

In addition to completing the required courses, students are encouraged to select an area of focus. The Ecological and Sustainable Design emphasis recognizes the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the sustainable approach to design. As such, at least six elective credits should be taken outside the Department. Students consult with their faculty advisors to develop a program of study that meets their individual needs and interests.

AGEC 525Natural Resource and Environmental Economics3
ARCH 715Topics in Architecture3
ARCH 716Topics/Environmental Systems3
ARCH 740Building-Related Health & Safety Health3
ARE 740 Environmental Control Systems3
BAE 761Natural Treatment Systems3
BIOL 529Fundamentals of Ecology3
CE 563Environmental Engineering3
ECON 527Environmental Economics3
GEOG 705Remote Sensing/Environment3
GEOG 760Human Impact/Environment3
IAPD 625Lighting Design2
IAPD 720Advanced Seminar in Interior Archvariable
LAR 704Environmental Landscape Planning and Design3
LAR 720Public Lands and Natural Resources Law3
LAR 758Land Resource Information3
PHILO 595Environmental Ethics3
SOCIO 536Environmental Sociology3