Guilty by Association: Addressing Sustainability in Architecture Education

Tyana Santini

Despite the growing interest in sustainability, negative associations of this term with naïve discourses, green-washing, or low-quality design are still common within some areas in the discipline of architecture. Through a literature review and an examination of the programs of the top ten architecture schools, this article explores the causes and implications of this slight but persistent discredit of sustainability in the field of architecture. The article discusses how some of the perceived downsides of sustainability are reflected on the university curricula, as the fragmented understanding of environmental problems or the overly technical approach to their solution within technology and design. The discussion also addresses the improvements brought by recent multidisciplinary explorations of environmental issues made within the architectural humanities, that provide students a comprehensive historical, social, and cultural understanding of the issue.


Sustainability; architecture education; green-washing; sustainable architecture; environmental humanities


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