Episode 14: Should Architecture Schools Teach Ecology? [Podcast]

Ecology is the study of natural systems and how organisms relate to their physical surroundings. So what the heck does that have to do with architecture and why should I care?

episode 14Eric and I discuss what exactly ecology is and the benefits of teaching it in architecture school. We also discuss how it is a basic fundamental understanding of the way nature works and why it is beneficial to architects to better understand the core principles.

Listen to the Audio

Watch the Video


In this week’s NCARB news, we talk about NCARBs vision of integrating academic, IDP and access to the ARE divisions within the framework of an accredited degree program. The article is called “Over 30 Accredited Architectural Schools Indicate Interest in NCARB Proposal for Integrated Path to Licensure Initiative”, be sure to check it out!

Things discussed in this episode

What is ecology?

Impact of buildings on the environment

Architects in a real position to do something about this impact

But basic principles are new or unknown to young architects

In addition, older firm principals aren’t as interested or inspired to change later in their career

typically, it’s the IDP crowd at the firm which is is pushing their principals to do more with green building (LEED and LBC examples)

So it falls on the schools to give a basic and fundamental understanding of topics such as:

1. Life Cycle Assessment

  • Where did this material come from?
  • What are the by-products of its’ manufacturer?
  • How is the material delivered and installed?
  • How is the material maintained & operated?
  • How healthy are the materials?
  • What do we do with them once we are done with these materials?

2. Whole Systems Thinking

VIDEO:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L06ZgG0FV4c

3. Carbon Emissions and Climate Change

4. Sustainable Site Planning and minimizing impacts

5. Biomimicry

link to Janine Benyus book

Janine Benyus: Biomimicry in action

6. Permaculture

Bill Mollison book: Check out the book!

Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8slFPXkfOFw

Earthships:  Michael Reynolds in Taos, New Mexico: Check out the book!


Create a list of no-brainers for your projects (PDF from organicARCHITECT)

Incorporating these ideas into your office (PDF from organicARCHITECT)

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Should the study of ecology be taught in architecture school? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

By |2019-01-21T18:39:33+00:00February 6th, 2015|Categories: Green Building, Podcast, Profession|3 Comments

About the Author:

David Doucette
David Doucette, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP is founder of Architect Exam Prep and CSEprep.com and has been helping candidates successfully prepare for and pass the California Supplemental Exam (CSE) for the last four years. He also hosts a podcast dedicated to preparing for the California Supplemental Exam as well as CSE Video Tips at CSEprep.com.


  1. Avatar
    William Freimuth February 11, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    The very fact this is a question is greatly disappointing and even depressing.
    You guys know this, of course……..so thanks.

  2. Avatar
    F February 15, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Bill Mollison is not dead!

  3. David
    David February 26, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Hi William, hopefully we will see a change with younger architects leading the movement!

    Thanks, David

Comments are closed.

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