RAISING FUTURE ARCHITECT'S AWARENESS SUSTAINABILITY AS PHILOSOPHY, PRACTICE AND TOOLS

A. Morsi

Helwan University, Faculty of Fine Arts (EGYPT)
Sustainability as a wider concept has several social, economical and physical aspects is a growing trend within the field of urban and architectural design. It is currently the most pressing and challenging agenda facing international architectural education.

The recent Oxford convention in 2008 focused on sustainability in Forums, as follows:
1. Buildings and the Environment.
2. Sustaining Studio Education in a Climate of Change.
3. Human Habitat and Social Responsibility.
6. Urban Design and Sustainable Cities.
8. Materials and Renewable Energy.

In last recent years, in Egypt the profession of sustainable architecture and urban design has evolved on a large scale, as a result of some reasons: the lack of resources, high rates of power consumption, urban social issues.

But the sustainability educational process, mainly in national - state owned - architectural institutions, has been slow to respond to this alteration both international and local.

Some researchers identified a number of general problems, and challenges in national architectural schools in Egypt that might affect sustainable design education:
1. The high rates of increase of architecture students’ numbers.
2. Limited material resources.
3. Unbalanced structure of curriculums and contents.
4. Architectural academia is relatively isolated from society and local communities.

Concerning the sustainable design’s education in national Egyptian universities, there are many reasons for disregarding sustainable considerations in architectural and urban design. Among these are:
1. Sustainability principles should be taught as the essential underlying concepts of today's architectural design. Perhaps due to time constraints, lack of knowledge, or simply the desire to focus on architectural issues, few faculty and students have been adequately exposed to the fundamental concepts of sustainability. This lack of exposure limits the ability of students to translate sustainability principles into architectural and urban design. Some students may view them as having very prescriptive solutions that tend to restrict design creativity.
2. The lack of means to assess the impact of new sustainable design tools and equipments reliably during the building design process.
The research aims to proposing new teaching strategies for urban and architectural design faculties in order to overcome problems and limitations of sustainable design education in Egypt, to achieve and meet the needed enough awareness with the urban and architectural local challenges.

The study adopted a methodology, which directly corresponded to the objective stated above. The methodology is based on setting an over view of the local architectural and urban issues which are representing the future profession mainframe in Egypt, analyzing existing problems and limitations in sustainable design education in Egypt as well as determining basic sustainability principles - as Philosophy and practice - to be embedded within the architecture and urban design curriculums. Parallel, an exploration of some new and old - which still effective -teaching methodologies and learning experiences, is done.

Then a bridge will be built between the existing teaching problems in architecture institutions, as stated, and corresponding teaching strategies. Some international experiences are presented as well as the author’s personal teaching experiences in urban and architectural design's learning tools, exercises, and studio projects.