FROM EDGE TO CORE: Realigning sustainability in architectural education

  • YEAR
    Garbarczyk, Magdalena
    2019 Conference Papers
    Architectural Education and Sustainability
    Conference Papers


Climate change and the built environment’s ecological impact necessitate that we embed
sustainability in architectural education. However, this often takes the form of an addition (satellite) to the prevailing core programme. In 2018 and 2019 elective courses at the School of Architecture at
Unitec, New Zealand, prompted students to focus on two distinct topics: the issue of waste in New
Zealand’s building industry and building with low carbon materials. The experience of these
‘sustainability electives’ cemented the belief that the established architecture curriculum needs to
evolve so that sustainability becomes the core of the programme. This paper discusses the reasons why
this evolution is necessary and proposes strategies informed by a holistic view of sustainability. It
suggests a reconsideration of what sustainable thinking is and challenges the dominance of quantitative
and technological solutions to environmental problems. It opens up the discussion beyond the human
realm and the western educational model and offers acupunctural interventions that have the potential
to reimagine sustainability as the core of architectural education and thus equip students with a sense
of agency to face the global ecological challenge ahead.

Keywords: Sustainability; education; indigenous; curriculum.


To top