2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Student-Originated Studies: Function and Feeling in Sustainable Building


Winter 2013 and Spring 2013 quarters

Robert Knapp physics, sustainable design
Fields of Study
architecture, environmental studies and sustainability studies
Preparatory for studies or careers in
architectural design and construction, sustainability consulting and policy, and city and regional planning.
Critical reading and thinking and analytical writing adequate to support proposed research; experience in collaborative team project work; additional skills as required for proposed research.

This SOS confronts the question, What forms of building are both sustainable in environmental and societal terms, and life-enhancing in the experience of those who live and work in them? Sustainability is a pressing issue in this era of transition away from an industrial growth society. Established patterns of design and construction in the industrial world are energy-hungry, impact laden, often unhealthy, and merely adequate, not life-enhancing in experiential terms. As householders, businesspeople, designers and builders have begun to recognize these hard facts, experiments and initiatives of many kinds have sprung up to explore alternatives. New materials, like straw bales or bamboo; new construction methods, like the German Passiv Haus approach; renewed appreciation of traditional and indigenous modes of building; reworked design methods, using computer simulation, the Anglo-American pattern language approach, or other tools--all these and more are being actively pursued at sites all over the United States. Which ones have real potential for both sustainable function and enhancement of life? This program is for research on this theme.

The faculty will select 3-4 person student teams through a proposal process (see information on signature requirement). Research can include literature reviews, case studies, simulations and prototypes, and theoretical work; the emphasis will be on projects which can be finished in a single quarter; all research must lead to documentation which can be widely shared. Each team will meet weekly with faculty for review and support, and all teams will join in a required weekly seminar on the topic of function and feeling in buildings.

To provide greater access to the range of exploratory work spread across the United States, the program will be based in a different city each quarter--Berkeley (winter), and New York (spring). Students will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation. Registration will be by individual contract on a quarter-by-quarter basis.

Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Special Expenses
Students are responsible for their own accommodation in suitable location depending on quarter (see main description), and for travel to that location.
Internship Possibilities
Internship are allowed, if compatible with team research proposal and required seminar meeting.
Research Possibilities
see main description.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
February 23rd, 2012 This offering has been cancelled.