Green Foundations: A framework for Responsible Design

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Bertomen, Michele C.
Iulo, Lisa D.
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Issues of sustainability are of paramount concern for architectural education and questions often revolve around how and when they should be introduced. This paper argues that a truly sustainable approach involves a paradigm shift that must be introduced via studio culture as well as project problem sets from the outset so that the studio environment instills ecological values and sensibilities throughout the design process. Responsible designers identify opportunities and exigency in their context first, and work to create ecological, systemic, permeable constructs that positively interact with the natural world. Such work requires understanding the architects' role in design and production as part of a web of relationships, constantly in flux. Hence, genuine attention to first principals of sustainability in the design curriculum necessitates a reconsideration of predominating modes of thought in architectural education and involves a shift in emphasis from static figural identification to dynamic pattern recognition. The project-based architectural design studio is an ideal environment through which alternative conceptual frameworks can emerge. The studio provides the critical social mesh where a networked, multi-disciplinary educational strategy can give rise to an integrated and responsive curriculum from "beginnings to ends". This paper focuses on suggestions for beginning design studios, setting the context for an approach to reshaping the discourse of architectural design education. Ergo, this paper will present no solutions, but will offer food for thought to stimulate like-minded educators to create environments for responsible, responsive decision making that is the base and basis of sustainable design.
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