Ecological & Sustainable Design Emphasis (MS in Architecture)
Ecological and Sustainable Design (ESD) focuses on the theory and practice of architectural and environmental design that makes maximum use of the same renewable energy flows and material cycling processes by which all other living systems on earth are sustained. It is an approach to design that is holistic in nature, encompassing a concern for ecological systems, building technological systems, and socio-cultural/existential systems. Ecological systems are studied not only as the context for architecture but also as models for design, providing the fundamental principles by which sustainable buildings are designed and operated. Energy and resource conserving building technologies as well as healthy and ecologically benign building materials are studied so that ecological design principles can be implemented in environmentally appropriate architecture. The emphasis also stresses the socio-economic, political, and cultural/existential context of design as a complexly structured framework within which questions of sustainability must be considered and building designs implemented. The ESD option necessarily involves the development of a broad understanding of architectural and environmental design that is as much philosophical as it is practical.