Establishing a new educational model for sustainable building design could be a smart idea, but only if the whole industry works on it together, says Chris Wise, Director of the Useful Simple Trust.
In his Building Magazine article, Chris argues “it has got to be time to defragment the engineering and architectural worlds to bring about a generation of technologists, building physicists, sustainable building designers, call them what you want, who can stand together in the design of buildings. Two, or more likely 22, brains melded into one, with complementary skills and mutual respect, to bring well-integrated, contextually aware technological knowledge into play from the start of every building design with the place it deserves. Too much for one individual, or one existing profession, which makes the [Royal Academy of Engineering’s] call for an educational rethink seem like an increasingly smart idea.”
The article was prompted by recent work by the Royal Academy of Engineering, The Case for Centres of Excellence in sustainable building design, which makes a strong case for creating a network of centres of excellence in integrated sustainable design and construction. The Academy is hoping to raise 30 million pounds to fund four of these undergraduate engineering centres around the country which will also act as a hub to educate future sustainable construction experts and share knowledge between construction companies, academics and policy makers.
The RAEng’s call for bidders has only gone to academia, not to industry where most practical multidisciplinary expertise arguably lies. Chris expresses his frustration at the lack of imagination and industry involvement in built environment education, and challenges industry to step up, collaborate, and do something radical and useful for the long term.
Later this spring, the Academy’s successful bidders are to join together in an open-source workshop with competitors and industrial partners to rear the little acorn into a delicate but potentially mighty oak, a new educational model for sustainable building design. Chris is hoping for fireworks. How will you get involved?