INNOVATIVE TEACHING METHODS: CULTIVATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS TO UNDERGRADUATE ARCHITECTURE STUDENTS
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Our growing sensitivity for environmental issues has indicated that buildings are the major cause for damaging nature. Pollution from heating and cooling buildings exceeds that from cars. The building industry, the second largest industry in the world, manufactures building materials consuming enormous energy, and exhaustible resources. Buildings and their construction account for more than half of the entire greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption globally each year. The Building Sector is the key source of demand for energy and materials that produce by-product greenhouse gases. On the other hand, our houses, which are the largest lifetime purchase, are built more or less with the same way as they were built at least fifty years ago. The home that will define our lives is designed by and large only for the present, based upon an implicit (and obsolete) conception that the future is just a repetition of the present. Our society needs urgently new approaches in the conception theorization and implementation of architectural practices, which will generate architectural designs responsive to the new conception of the relations between nature and the humans where the latter are part of the former depending upon and determining it in a dynamic and parametric relationship. Architecture education has a role to play in the above debate. The fragmentation of architecture education constitutes the environment as yet another ‘must’ subject but with no connection to the design process in general and to the design studio in particular, while the design studio has always been the platform on which either implicitly or explicitly all fragments come together towards quality architecture. At our School of Architecture, after a number of pedagogic trials and errors, has recently designed a series of interlinked and innovative courses based on the model: initiation- theoretical background, grounding: precedent study through matrixes, conceptualization-delving into theory-implementing through design. In the first one: initiation- theoretical background, an introduction to the basics of building physics takes place but is transformed to be architect friendly avoiding calculi and equations while teaching the relationship between building and climate conceptually. This part is evaluated through exams on a series of questions that assess student critical thinking and good grasp of this relationship. In the second one: grounding: precedent study through matrixes, two lectures an introductory and a simulation of what is expected of the students are delivered by the staff. Each week students present a case study of a distinguished, for its environmental sensitivity, building on matrix of criteria set by the staff and students regarding performance, natural ventilation, cooling, heating, solar shading etc strategies. The students compile a digital archive of good practice examples. In the third one: conceptualization-delving into theory-implementing through design, the first part of the module is based on lectures that delve into, on the one hand, more specific issues of energy control and savings, and on the other hand, on seminars on software relating to the environment as well as relating to adaptive-parametric architecture. The paper will present the specifics of each method suggesting a broader, generalisable, innovative, integrated and cohesive pedagogy towards graduate architects with environmental sensitivity.
Keywords: Innovation, pedagogy, architecture, environment, energy, building physics, design studio.