Teaching transformative urbanism is predicated on teaching students how to critically analyze the world around them and engage with ecological practices. My goal as a teacher is to introduce students to the socio-cultural construction of the built-environment, the politics of space inherent within this process, and the knowledge systems that contribute to resilience. I believe that collaborative, interdisciplinary, and experiential learning is integral to this approach. I value the framework of ‘learning by doing’ in design and planning education and work to provide expertise and preparation from my own practice and research so that students are better informed in their careers. I use my work on the cultural production of the built-environment to engage students with the power dynamics present in exogenous built-environments, emphasizing the importance of local knowledge in creating supportive environments. In creating an equitable learning environment, I want class time and material to be meaningful to the students, and regularly ask for student feedback throughout the term.
Housing is seen as an essential facet of our daily lives, but why has it become increasingly inaccessible for much of the population in the United States and Globally? Of the basic necessities of life: food, water, shelter, and clothing, shelter is seldom guaranteed through governmental programs, but why?
This course introduces students to sustainable housing innovations through a critical investigation of housing policy, housing design, land use and building regulations, and the overarching logics of human settlement. We explore housing innovations that present effective solutions to these issues, historically and today, while seeking creative modes in transforming discriminatory logics. Through collaboration, students develop design solutions for real-world problems.
This course investigates the relationship between social/economic inclusion and the physical form of cities and introduces students to the decolonization of the urban realms. Students are introduced to this difficult topic through two parallel and intersecting modes of engagement: literature and debate and participatory community engagement. It investigates the role of the built environment in promoting social equity, environmental justice, and economic opportunity and examines the political, social and economic forces behind urbanism. It investigates these issues at a range of scales (building, neighborhood, district, city, peri-urban) and from multiple disciplinary perspectives (Indigenous Design, architecture, Decolonization, Post-feminism, urban design, planning, public policy, landscape architecture, environmental ecology, and art).
Thesis is a year-long design studio. In thesis students critically explore an architectural, urban, or landscape topic of specific personal interests. The project includes the development and refinement of a thesis statement, research, and theoretical development. Students are taught to develop a design concept that tests their research hypothesis. Schematic design and ongoing design development are realized through sketches, models, and the digital representation of plans, sections and elevations. The iterative relationship between the individual imagination of the designer, the needs of both client and user, the relationship between the constructed form and its surrounding ecology and the appropriate use of materials, building technologies and workable structural solutions. Emphasis is placed on the theoretical development grounded in a rich contextualization of the proposed project.
Working within the thematic context of culture, ecology and design, students will work in teams on projects that engage with culturally sensitive design and environmental sustainability. These projects will be real-life scenarios for creating economically feasible design solutions. Supporting economic development and capacity building is an added benefit! Through research and discussion about the various stakeholders, and ecology, students will have the opportunity to explore the conditions, design strategies, methods, building technologies, construction and implementation of realizable solutions to create housing that both responds to socio-cultural and ecological systems. As a multi-disciplined studio, various approaches and techniques of habitat design, representation and development are explored in the studio project work. This course utilizes lectures, discussion, individual and class critique, and developed designs will be communicated through a variety of model, sketch, and drawing presentation work.
The aim of this course is to explore the fundamental connection between global forces, Public Interest Architecture, Humanitarian Design, and social entrepreneurship. This course will equip students with a critical approach to humanitarian design in order to better understand and contextualize the implications of such design. Drawing on readings, discussion, exercise, and group-based projects; our goal is to understand the general linkages between theory and practice.
Throughout the course, we will have the opportunity to learn from local, national, and international practitioners of public-interest architecture, humanitarian design, and social entrepreneurship. For students seeking careers in humanitarian design, the goal of this course is to develop your awareness of these critical issues in order to understand all facets of working on the margins and learn to prepare for and mitigate potential unintended consequences of your work.
Personal Space Studio
This course introduces students to a conceptual approach to the design of form and environment, with a special focus on design at a smaller human scale. The course focuses on the dwelling as a system of inhabiting space rather than a fixed object. Similarly, the course focuses on design as a process rather than the end product.
Students engage with site research and analysis to contextualize their approach to the dwelling within the history and ecology of the chosen site. Working through a core concept that intersects the site context with the needs of the inhabitant, students work between physical models and parti drawings to iterate the design as a method for problem-solving.
The positive support of a person’s intimate interaction with and utilization of space and object, as well as its impact on space and form, is studied through careful review of spatial components and materiality. Emphasis is on the relationship to the site, the exploration of materials, and representation.
Students will research, investigate and interpret a range of social spaces including architecture, urban design and landscape. Students will examine existing public projects through a formal series of studio assignments utilizing diverse documentation methods, media and techniques. Existing spaces will be analysed using a variety of research methods, and students will formulate critiques and discuss conceptual, structural and elemental interpretations. They will explore learning to see, measure and critique the dimensions, spatial patterns and characteristics of social space. They will learn to apply research findings in evidence based design.