VIDEO: Architecture & Sustainable Design (ASD)

This video shows an interview with Professor John E Fernandez, the coordinator of Singapore University of Technology and Design’s curriculum for Architecture and Sustainable Design pillar. This curriculum is part of a collaboration between SUTD and MIT which is developed to nurture technically-grounded leaders and innovators that will serve societal needs. During the interview, Fernandez gives a wide description of what Architecture and Sustainable Design pillar will look like.

Fernandez explains that teaching in ASD will comprise of a hands-on, industry-oriented approach that treats all design situations as opportunities for a cutting-edge creative approach that is thoroughly rooted in the economic, technical, and social frameworks of a contemporary society. He convinces that especially active learning with strong emphasis on learning-by-doing will fill in every class offered. Students will be introduced to the latest architectural technologies and systems for resource efficient buildings and ecologically responsible urban design. This will include the latest development in smart and environmentally responsive materials as well as passive and low energy building systems. It is important, because the urbanization of the world in the next several decades will add 3 billion people to urban populations, an amount equal to all city-dwellers today.

ASD has targeted teaching and research in the urban context for special attention. Several classes will be offered that address the need for educating an architect to be able to deal with the important issues of future cities including critical resource constraints, the need for energy efficient and humane housing, rapid urbanization, transportation planning, and land use transformations. Students in the latter terms of their studies in ASD will be introduced to the work of the SUTD International Design Centre with the intent of providing them opportunities to be actively involved in researchers and on-going research work.

Fernandez points out that the pillar structure at SUTD promotes a direct interaction between many disciplines at the university in several ways. First of all, the first three terms at SUTD are structured such that all students are engaged in the same experiences, even if they have already chosen their pillar. In the end of their education, students from all pillars will come together during capstone classes. These classes will directly engage students to collaborate with others from other pillars. Finally, students will be actively exposed and strongly encouraged to engage themselves in active research with the promotion of the faculty and researches from SUTD.

Fernandez expects that students of SUTD will be required to apply what they understand under the relationship between markets, valuation and the evolving notion of value in a resource-constrained world. He also expects students to consider themselves as real “change-agents”. That is, the aspirations that result from their education at SUTD should be rather more radical than becoming a good employee or filling a non-creative position in a company. The intent to introduce and engage students in other disciplines besides those traditionally found in architecture should give them more diverse tool kit for addressing the complex and multi-disciplinary issues that they will encounter in the decades. Adapting to climate change, understanding changing financial frameworks, utilizing technology in productive and creative ways will be something normal for their students, and they will take that out into the world.