Amalgamating Sustainable Design Strategies into Architectural Curricula

By Amira Elnokaly and Ahmed Elseragy.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the era of climate change, rising sea levels, the hole in the ozone layer and current food crisis, sustainability is no longer a matter of choice; it is a must. While the term sustainability manages to embed itself in all aspects of contemporary life, sustainability in the built environment requires special attention. Designs created by architects and planners play a fundamental part in shaping the way we live, behave and interact with our surroundings. Smith (2001) argued that instilling sustainable design in curricula at schools of architecture is a significant method of encouraging sustainable architectural design in practice. This is particularly important in non-sustainable societies such as those of the Middle East. For these reasons, this study aims at exploring ‘sustainability strategies,’ as they may be described, adopted in different schools of architecture. The research surveys architectural curricula at different Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) exempted schools of Architecture, at part 1 and 2 levels. Meanwhile, it also observes the contradiction and difficulties of teaching sustainable architectural design in Egyptian and Middle Eastern societies, whose cultural fabric does not encourage environmental awareness. Finally, the study attempts to investigate, in an increased level of detail, how sustainable design education fits into the undergraduate and postgraduate curricula of the Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design Department (AEED) at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) in Alexandria, Egypt. The paper concludes that the proper application of sustainable design strategies at early stages of architecture education has developed architects with sturdy understanding of their environment, climate and local identity, which can never happen if this is addressed in postgraduate studies or at later stages of the Architecture career.

Keywords: Architectural Education, Sustainable Design, Architectural Curricula, Environmental Awareness, Life Projects

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.103-134. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 9.210MB).

Dr. Amira Elnokaly

Senior Lecturer, Lincoln School Of Architecture, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK

Dr. Amira Elnokaly holds a B.Sc (Cairo University) Mphil / Ph.D (Nottingham) in Architecture. She is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Lincoln School of Architecture, The University of Lincoln, UK. Prior Joining the Lincoln University she was an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design Dept., at the AAST. She is a licensed architect in Egypt and has a large experience in practice where she was one of the founders of the Environmental Design Research and Consultancy Firm (EDRC), where she worked as an Energy and Environmental Design Consultant (2005-2008). Her research interests are diverse but are related by a consistent concern with embracing a sustainable mindset in architectural education, and ecological and environmental related issues in the Built Environment. She has widely published on the application of CFD on Building Design, Renewable Energy Technology, Sustainable Architecture and Environmental Design of Buildings, and Curriculum Development and Architecture Design Studio Teaching. Dr. Elnokaly is a design studio tutor who teaches a variety of courses and a very specific interesting course titled “Design in a Climate of Change”. She has secured a number of research funds in the last years, and this year won 3 funded research projects from the TSB (Technology Strategy Board) competition titled “Retrofit for the Future”.

Dr. Ahmed Elseragy

Dean of International Network and Affairs, Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design Department, Arab Academy for Science and Technology, London, UK

Dr. Ahmed Elseragy is an Associate Professor and Environmental Design Consultant with 16-years experience, provided environmental design and architectural consulting services for many organizations operating in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Dr Elseragy’s experience and expertise is in innovative structures, environmental design, sustainable buildings, eco-architecture, buildings’ environmental performance simulation, passive cooling strategies in buildings, and architectural education. He is a professional architect with a PhD Degree in Environmental Design and Sustainability in Buildings from the University of Nottingham, UK. He is an active member in many international professional bodies. He currently holds the post of Dean of International Network and Affairs at AASTMT and Director of the AASTMT London International Office (LIO), London, UK. Prior to this he was an Associate Professor of architectural studies and Design Studio Tutor at the Arab Academy for Science and Technology AASTMT since 1997 in the Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design Department, Alexandria, Egypt, which is the only RIBA part 2 accredited School of Architecture in the Middle East. He participated in establishing the new architecture department in 1997 and therefore, has long experience in architectural and built environment education and curriculum development. He held various Senior Posts at the Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design Department, AASTMT where he was the Course Leader of the B.SC in Arch. (Hons) and coordinated some core modules at the Undergraduate level and lead the Master Course run at the Department. Dr. Elseragy has managed to disseminate his research work on different levels. One of his main fields of interest and concern is Architecture and Design in a Climate of Change. His research interests are diverse but are related by a consistent concern with cultural, sustainable and environmental related issues in the built environment. He has widely published on sustainable development, traditional architecture, roofing and structural Systems of Buildings, passive buildings and techniques, computational modeling of buildings’ environmental performance, experimental physical models, architectural identity and heritage, and curriculum development and architectural education.


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