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Course Curriculum

McGill University

ARCH 515: Sustainable Design

Instructor: leila [dot] farah [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Leila Marie Farah)

© Leila Marie Farah, 2009

Architects have been contributing to sustainable design mostly by focusing on providing energy efficient solutions. While a necessary step, it represents a compartmentalized and fragmented approximation of the multi-faceted concept of sustainability. This course aims to provide an integrated approach to the topic of sustainable design-one which considers a variety of viewpoints that define, inform and challenge traditional notions of design. It presents sustainable architecture not just as an end product but also as an evolving process, while at the same time raising awareness of its impact.

This graduate seminar will be addressing the above in a multi-disciplinary fashion that approaches sustainable design theoretically, thematically and empirically, with emphasis on the urban context. First, concepts will be introduced and clarified, and their historical antecedents bridged with contemporary issues. Themes will cover a wide range of scales--from micro-green materials, to macro-eco-cities--. In tandem with these themes, case studies from around the world which were undertaken by both design professionals and research units will be presented and assessed in order to provide a more comprehensive picture. Weekly discussions will explore the above through an environmental, socio-cultural and economic prism.