AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO TEACHING ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES IN SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE
Keywords:Teaching method; Environmental studies; Green architecture
Environmental studies constitute an important part of the undergraduate programme in most schools of architecture today. In these schools the teaching of environmental studies is normally undertaken through a series of technical lecture courses on the ‘sciences’ and ‘technologies’ of environmental design such as climatology, heating, lighting, acoustics and so on and these lecture courses are characterized by the sectional and once for all treatment of the subject matter as well as by the emphasis on the means of environmental control rather than on the end namely, the ultimate built environment with its ‘wholistic’ nature and comprehensive requirements. As a result student architects often find it difficult to utilize their knowledge of environmental s tudies in architectural design is a comprehensive process and demands the environmental scene. Thus, in the design studies of a ‘wholistic’ view of the schools, architecture often seems to grow from ideas and notions that are inadequately considered and improperly worked out reflecting only partial recognition of some environmental factors while a large proportion of the relevant factors goes unrecognized or unspecified. This paper suggests that this applicability gap can perhaps be bridged by an alternative approach to teaching environmental studies which will focus constantly and consistently on the ultimate end the designer strives for namely, the built environment and will introduce the relevant ‘sciences’ and technologies’ repeatedly and in progressively wider dimensions and greater depths as the study advances. In this way the student architects will never lose sight of the totality of the built environment they must work for in their design and hopefully this ‘holistic’ approach to environmental studies will match the ‘wholistic’ nature of the architectural design process thereby curing or at least reducing to a large extent the chronic problem of the ‘applicability gap’. An outline of the proposed alternative approach has been developed in this paper and a list of the topics or areas to be covered in the lectures as well as in the project works at the different levels of environmental studies has also been suggested.
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