Environmental Sciences-Architecture-Urban Design. Over the last two years, I have explored this approach with my experience as Research Fellow at Project Drawdown, and as Senior Lecturer in China. The book Ecology and the Architectural Imagination has also served as the inspiration to integrate and expand these divorced disciplines. At Shanghai School of Visual Arts, I have designed the courses Architecture and Mobility, Thesis Project Principles, Thesis Project Completion, and Sustainable Architecture Studio VII. My intention is to blend theories, ecological strategies, and ‘soft’ technologies that mitigate the environmental impact of architectural practice and urban design.
One year already in China. I have witnessed the urban growth and physical expansion of this country. As of 2010, the world hosted 4,231 cities with 100,000 or more people. The region of East Asia and the Pacific -China, Mongolia, the Korean Peninsula- contains 26% of these cities (1,081). As in many other nations in the world, China requires today the adoption of environmental strategies in its cities and villages. How can I contribute to this challenge?
If tackled properly, the research process in architecture is able to set a framework of ecological thought even in the initial stage of the design process. A mindset that includes understanding the energy consumption and the natural resources needed in architecture and urban design. Thinking and acting in systems. This is a key factor if we want to change the present course of the dominant design philosophy in the world, including China.
I am not alone in this task. Along with researchers in the fields of Technoetics, Themed Environmental Design, and Financial Ecology, we are shaping collaborative sessions on sustainable research. We provide students with gentle, multiple, and systematic tools of design languages. Tools to infuse sustainable solutions in whatever professional project they undertake.