Monday, October 16, 2017

UTSA architecture studio course accepted into 2030 Curriculum Project

UTSA architecture studio course accepted into 2030 Curriculum Project

The 2030 Curriculum Project is an initiative of Architecture 2030, a non-profit think tank founded by Edward Mazria that seeks to transform climate change problems into solutions.


(October 27, 2016) -- A fall 2016 undergraduate architecture studio course at UTSA has been accepted into the 2030 Curriculum Project, a national pilot recognizing innovative teaching efforts that focus on energy use, emissions and resiliency. "San Antonio 2040: New Housing Models for the Flat City II," led by Assistant Professor Ian Caine and Assistant Professor Rahman Azari of the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, was one of only seven courses selected nationally.

The 2030 Curriculum Project is an initiative of Architecture 2030, a non-profit think tank founded by Edward Mazria that seeks to transform climate change problems into solutions. As the urban built environment is responsible for most of the world’s fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the think tank plans and designs collaborative efforts that lead to a sustainable and carbon neutral future.

As Caine explained: “A contemporary architectural education, at its core, must train students to confront daunting environmental challenges at multiple scales, beginning with the building and extending to the region. Dr. Azari and I are inspired by the opportunity to collaborate with Architecture 2030 and the willingness of fifteen UTSA undergraduates to accept this considerable challenge. The most pressing urban issues of our time — carbon, water, infrastructure and housing — can only be addressed using a multi-disciplinary and multi-scalar approach.”

The population of San Antonio will increase by 1.1 million people over the next 25 years, bringing the city’s population to 2.4 million by 2040. If current development trends hold, the growth will take place at the suburban periphery and double the size of San Antonio’s footprint, a scenario that would have severe economic and ecological implications for the metropolitan area. As a response to this massive demographic and geographic expansion, Caine and Azari will work with the students to design prototypes for some of the 500,000 units of housing that will be constructed in the next twenty-five years. The studio is specifically examining suburban infill sites that enjoy access to existing infrastructure and fabric.

Caine and Azari’s studio will embrace the goals and methods of the Architecture 2030 Challenge, which commits that new buildings and major renovations be carbon neutral by 2030. The instructors also intend for the studio to clarify the complex and often misunderstood relationship between architectural form and sustainability. To facilitate this dialogue, the studio is organized around ten lab exercises that initiate a critical feedback loop between issues of analysis and design, performance and form. The students and instructors will pursue these topics in parallel, never in isolation.

“We live in an uncertain world, in terms of energy supply and security, and in an era that global environmental challenges threaten the survival of our planet,” said Azari. “We need to train students to be sensitive to environmental consequences of architectural design and equip them with sophisticated knowledge and skills to design built environments that are friendly to the environment and users. Professor Caine and I will collaborate closely and encourage our students to apply a holistic sustainable mindset in addressing contemporary urban challenges.”

Proposals selected by the 2030 Curriculum Project will serve as instructional models to be shared and implemented widely, giving participating educators the opportunity to transform the culture of sustainable design education. Architecture 2030 will support instructors with expert review and feedback, access to the latest design and analysis software and tutorials, connections to expert practitioners, and opportunities to publish new content to the 2030 Palette, the online platform for designing sustainable built environments worldwide. Successful learning concepts and outcomes will be promoted through partner media and organizations, peer-reviewed journals and academic conferences, and an informational database that can be shared with other faculty and programs.

- Nicole Chavez

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Learn more about the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning.

Read the official Architecture 2030 Curriculum Project announcement.

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