50.1 EDUCATION IN Environmental Sustainable Architecture for the FUTURE? for A Joint CLIMATE Action

Mary-Ann Knudstrup , Architecture & Design, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
Kaare Eriksen , Architecture & Design, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
Mads Dines Petersen , Architecture & Design, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
Full Papers
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  • Title:
    Mail: Knudstrup@aod.aau.dk
    Keywords: education, sustainability, architecture
    Architects and engineers in the building and construction industry are today facing great challenges due to the fact that energy consumption will have to be reduced to a considerable degree within the next few years in order to ensure that no further damage is done to the global environment from new buildings. The industry is thus facing major changes in terms of public regulation and in the way building and construction is carried out in practice, whereby “bad habits” seen in relation to an energy optimization of the building will have to give way to new and better methods.
    The paper will present a teaching method used for the Architecture specialization at the Architecture & Design education. It is tailored to deal with current societal/technological, environmental and sustainable issues. In terms of both research and teaching, Aalborg University utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to a considerable extent. At Architecture & Design at Aalborg University, we have been working with environmental sustainable architecture since 2000 -02. We use a model called the Integrated Design Process (IDP) for that purpose, which is a hybrid method of designing integrated architecture in an interdisciplinary approach between architecture and engineering [1,2]. The IDP focuses on combining architecture, design, functional aspects with engineering parameters like energy consumption, indoor environment, and construction in order to achieve a more holistic approach to sustainable environmental architecture. The goal is to reduce the use of energy for heating and cooling and bringing down the emission of CO2 by reducing the amount of fossil fuel consumed by the built environment already in the early stages of the design process.
    Aalborg University has since 1997 offered a full graduate programme in Architecture & Design (A&D) as an engineering education with specialization in Architecture. Since 2005 the master has been offered in English. The curriculum is organized so that lecturers of architecture and design from the new and more aesthetically oriented Department of Architecture & Design would teach the core competencies of their professions in a well-balanced blend supported by lecturers from departments of technical science at the university [3]. Achieving a successful blend of the different professional attitudes and traditions was a sometimes difficult process, but today some of the barriers between these fields have been opened and replaced by cooperation.
    The paper will discuss a similar barrier amongst Danish architects and building engineers, who both traditionally lack elements of inter-disciplinary integration in their curricula. The lack of technical skills in the existing architectural degree courses has been the subject of continued criticism. Recent government reports also conclude that the traditional programmes, at the schools of architecture, should be better tailored to the needs of the professions. [5,6] Thus, for many years, the technical scientific aspect has been practically non-existent in such courses. The technical scientific aspect of design has been taught only in courses of engineering, which have in turn all but ignored the aesthetic dimension during the 20th century.
    Such a segregation of arts and technical science can create prejudice and a lack of professional understanding between courses of study in engineering and design respectively, and has left graduates with not only very different methods and tools, but also very different terminologies, language and professional self-understanding – almost as if the graduates come from two different planets [2,4 ]. This can be seen as a hindrance in developing products and architecture in a more complex and holistic design process where the integration of both technical and aesthetic aspects is important.
    One of the major obstacles in today’s education at A&D is the lack of tools, which allows the designers to use their knowledge about how to reduce energy consumption, in the early design phases, especially in larger complex projects. Present engineering tools are specialized and very detailed [7], making them difficult to use for designers. Furthermore these tools do rarely possess an interoperability with traditional digital CAD tools used for modelling [8], making the integration and evaluation of the different parameters more difficult than necessary.
    Today, engineering graduates from AAU are highly valued in industry, typically because their expertise in group work and their focus on problem-solving in context are well developed in comparison with graduates from traditional engineering and architecture courses of study and they are prepared and updated to build low energy and zero energy buildings.



    1. Knudstrup, M.-A. 2004: “Integrated Design Process in PBL”. The Aalborg PBL model – Progress, Diversity and Challenges’. Aalborg University Press, Aalborg University, Denmark. 2004.
    2. Knudstrup, M.-A. 2006: ’Barriers and Challenges in the Integrated Design Process Approach’. The International Conference on Asia – European Sustainable Urban Development, Chongqing, China April 4-6 2006.
    3. Eriksen, K: Knudstrup, M.-A. 2008. ”THE DANISH REVOLUTION IN DESIGN EDUCATION”. I: Proceedings of the 10th engineering and product design education international conference, Universitat Politecnica, Barcelona, Spain 4-5 September 2008.. Barcelona, Spain.
    4. Hansen, H. T. R. 2007: ‘SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS as a Methodical Approach to the Development of Design Strategies for environmentally sustainable buildings’. PhD thesis, Aalborg University Denmark.
    5. Periodical: Danske Ark Byg  no. 8, 2007.
    6.  Periodical: DesignDanmark, The Danish Government, April 2007. Isbn 978-87-78622-48-8
    7. Malkawi 2005: “Performance simulation: Research and tools”. I: Performative Architecture – Beyond Instrumentality Kolarevic Branko: Malkawi Ali M. (eds). Spon Press, New York. Isbn 0-415-70083-3
    8. Downing, S.: Holzer, D.: Tengono Y. 2007: “Developing a Framework for Linking design Intelligence from Multiple Professions in the AEC Industry”. I: Proceedings of the Computer Aided Architectural Design Futures (CAAD Futures) 2007, Sydney, Australia, 2007