The Humane Green: Integrating Humane Design with Green Design in a Graduate Interior Design Program

By Kyriakos Pontikis.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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

Architects and interior designers employ green design in their practice in an effort to reduce consumption of energy, water and material resources and diminish harmful impacts on inhabitants and the environment. This view is of great importance but one sided because it focuses only on the technical aspects of buildings. There is another view of sustainable design – the humane one – where the main aim of architects and interior designers is to work closely with users, understand their needs and design responsive environments. This design approach also focuses on the wholeness, spirit, and beauty of the land and tries to preserve and enhance these qualities as they are vital not only to humans but also to all species. Noted architect Christopher Alexander has been a proponent of such a humane building process and his theories and building methods on pattern languages and generative design aim to create livable and responsive environments. In order to achieve a more inclusive and holistic sustainable design both design tracks, the green one and the humane one, should be integrated into a unified whole. In this paper I present a teaching model where both these design tracks are integrated in an effort to develop and educate students on a more integrative, sustainable design. This unified design model, which I call “The Humane Green”, I developed and tested in a graduate interior design program. In this paper I describe the theoretical framework of “The Humane Green”, explain the teaching model I developed, present a community project designed by students using principles of this model, and conclude with findings and future implications. The initial work done on this design model looks promising and merits further research.

Keywords: Humane Green, Sustainability, Humane Design, Green Design, Interior Design, Architecture, Curriculum Development

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.49-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.280MB).

Dr. Kyriakos Pontikis

Associate Professor, Interior Design, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Health and Human Development, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, California, USA

Kyriakos Pontikis is an Associate Professor of Interior Design at California State University, Northridge. He received his bachelor’s degree (B.Arch.) from Oklahoma State University and his master’s (M.Arch.) and Ph.D. in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. His specialization and research interests focus on pattern languages, generative design, form languages, and sustainable building and design. At CSUN he has developed a series of undergraduate and graduate courses focusing on humane and sustainable interior design and architecture. He has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to create the Habitat for Humanity CSUN Chapter. He is a founding member and coordinator of the international organization BPA (Building Process Alliance) and a founding member and advisory board member of INTBAU USA (International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism). He is chairing the Sustainability Committees in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and in the College of Health and Human Development. He is a member of the CSUN Institute of Sustainability and a member of the CSUN Green Core Team. He has over twenty years of professional experience and is practicing both in Europe and the US with his firm “Pontikis + Associates”.


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