Week Ten


Sustainability & Living Futures

The Week at a Glance

For an overview of this week,

Before you proceed with this week, make sure to finish last week by:

  • writing (doing a mind-dump) in your personal journal for at least 15 minutes--distill the whole week into what seems most important to you
  • distilling what you wrote in your journal in the "Journaling" exercise for Week 09 on Blackboard

To successfully complete the tenth week of the semester in ARC 1015, follow these steps:

(1) Work through the narrative and activities that follow on this page, noting the following upcoming due dates.

  • Monday: complete & turn in the group project (VoiceThreads); take the summary quiz.
  • NOTE: assignments are always due at 11:11 AM on the specified date--unless you receive specific directions otherwise

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • Interpret manifestations of the realms of sustainability in a variety of approaches to architecture [UNDERSTAND].
  • Recognize opportunities for service and vocation, understood in the context of Christian traditions, within the context of twenty-first century architectural practices [UNDERSTAND].


Remember that Midterm Survey?

See below for Dr. Amundson's responses to, and overview of, the survey results, with particular focus on VoiceThread, feedback, in-person meetings, Goldberger, and navigation, along with changes on the horizon as a direct result of your input.

For Thursday/Friday

New Practices

Alongside the re-evaluation of vernacular wisdom for designing sustainably, architects, builders, and others have developed innovative approaches to addressing environmental needs through the adoption of new techniques as well, oftentimes with the guidance of several institutions that have emerged to dedicate their energies to addressing sustainability in the construction industry. To aid your recall of how tough buildings are on the environment:

The 1990s were a ripe time for professional and institutional responses to the climate crisis. The AIA established the Committee on the Environment (COTE) to promote sustainable design by presenting awards for achievement in "integration of design excellence with environmental performance." One of the most visible responses to sustainability concerns is the U.S. Green Building Council. Its certification program, LEED, has since become the most-recognized rating system in the world for green building, applicable for almost all building types through a framework for healthy, efficient, and economically shrewd building. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification standards have changed through the years and the number of categories that can meet its standards has increased dramatically, while professionals can earn various certifications to demonstrate their expertise in various categories of sustainable design. While no one can argue against the goals and intention of the USGBC and LEED certification, its end results have faced criticism. Another group, the Living Future Institute, answers some of these criticisms by encouraging building design to actually make a positive impact on the environment through its Living Building Challenge. Read the following article, which summarizes many of the challenges of sustainable design:

Among individuals who have emerged in this field, architect and author William McDonough is a leader in sustainability studies. Watch his (very, very dense) TED Talk from 2014 (bonus points if you catch his shout-out to Vitruvius) that explains his "cradle to cradle" concept, focused on the central idea of design as taking an intention toward the world:

Gensler is an absolutely gigantic architecture firm, headquartered in the US and with offices in 48 cities and 16 countries around the world. One of their co-CEOs, Andy Cohen, gave the following TEDx talk in 2010, with extensive commentary on Gensler's projects in China:

(If you'd like to learn more about the Shanghai Tower, which was completed in 2015, read on.)

In some highly creative places, not just individual buildings but whole settlements and the way of life within them are being designed around principles of sustainability.

Finally, here is a short film on the first LEED-platinum certified building, the Philip Merrill Environmental Center, headquarters of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Maryland (read more on this groundbreaking building here.)

For Monday

In addition to wrapping up the discussion board (if you're in the third group), everybody needs to:

for Tuesday

Attend Class:

on campus

Rachel, Melanie, Heidi, Sarah, Peyton, Emma, Honor, Anthony, Dylan, Harrison, Ryan P., Reggie, & Keily

  1. Discuss Ecological Sustainability & COTE assignments
  2. 4:15 Keith Loiseau on Living Buildings
  3. 5:15 Summaries & time to write


Anna, Katellen, Ryan M., Lauren, Paige, Jason, Benjamin, Jesse, Brendon, TJ, Tess, Sierra, Kayli, Taylor, Nathan, & Chase

  1. Discuss Ecological Sustainability & COTE assignments
  2. 4:15 Keith Loiseau on Living Buildings
  3. 5:15 Summaries & time to write

extra info