1, 2, 3, 4
1 week, Friday
from 09:00 – 17:30
a, d, e, h, i
“Turn your face to the sun and shadows fall behind you”
Sustainability according to the oxford dictionary is the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level. Sustainability considering loss or injury is the ability to suffer; in the emotional or physical realm, it is the aptitude to be supported; in ecology, it regards the conservation of an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources; in botany, it is the gift to keep in existence: in business, it is the talent to keep going for a long time. It is the capacity to endure, to be kept going, to survive.
So, what does sustainability concern when one comes to position it in Architectural education?
Sustainability in the architectural discourse is related to a cultural problem.[i] A problem caused not only by financial and technological factors, but one that arises from a cultural system of values.
The assumption that global climate change is the result of the realities of Western, post industrialist, capitalist culture embeds the climate crisis in the unsustainable lifestyle derived from precise these realities. A lifestyle that celebrates, among other, sub-urbanity, consumption of resources, goods and territory.
Architecture is concerned with the workings of imagination in close relation to the production of this imagery. The architect, therefore, is a visionary namely engaged in the disciplinary activity of producing a spatial vision, an image of a possible spatial future.[ii] Within such a possible future sustainability means that architectural and urban production affects not only the reduction of the ecological footprint of a building, but also the revision of the architectural cultural attitude.
Sustainable considerations during design and realisation process emphasise ecological, social and economic issues. Significant within this realm are the quality of life, consumption patterns (aiming at quality rather than quantity), economical activities (aiming at service rather than products), dematerialisation (reuse and applications of sustainable sources of energy and materials), individual development and expression possibilities, biodiversity. In all cases, not only the process, the means, and the materials necessary during the design and realisation period are concerned, but furthermore the life span of the building or the urban plan. FHK MA+U perceives sustainability as an integral design attitude, that encloses a careful regard of the conditions and values one is confronted with when conceiving a design. In our understanding attitude and values are the motivations leading to the design decisions one takes.
Sustainable thought calls for a “Beginner’s Mind”, a Zen term describing a state of mind without preconceptions, judgments and prejudices. Beginner's mind leaves the door open for the unknown while exploring, observing and looking at "things as-they-are". The principal question at stake is “How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?”[iii]
Sustainability day will shed light on sustainable technological solutions and on the needed design attitude resulting of an inquiry of the problem and the development of an integral approach by generating ideas.
Students write a 1500-word essay to formulate their own position on the topic of sustainability in architecture or urbanism.
• The ability to understand the relevance of sustainability in contemporary architectural and urban design practices.
• The ability to understand sustainability from a number of different perspectives (technological, social, cultural, philosophical)
• The ability to formulate one’s own professional position
Design, Level 1 & 2 / Research, Level 1 & 2/ Communicating, level 1& 2
[i] Sustainability is a Cultural Problem, Wilfried Wang, Harvard Design Magazine, Spring/Summer 2003, Number 18
[ii] Visionary Architecture refers to ‘inbuilt architecture’ as well as to utopian plans. See, for instance: Otokar Macel and Martin van Schaik (eds.), Exit Utopia; Architectural Provocations 1956-1976 (Munich: Prestel, 2005) or Neil Spiller (ed.), Visionary Architecture; Blueprints of the Modern Imagination (London: Thames and Hudson, 2008).
[iii] A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit, 2005