Thursday, December 4, 2008

Semester Master of Science in Sustainable Design

I have had the honor of teaching the Design Studio at Philadelphia University for the Fall 2008 Semester.  There are 8 candidates in my studio, which meets from 5:15 pm to 9:45 pm twice a week.

This is not part of the architectural education accrediting board's schools of architecture — it is broader and deeper than just "architecture" of buildings. In that regard one might characterize it as a "deep green" curriculum, at least for this semester if not across the board.

For example: all 15 students in both of the two studios were given a 6-week assignment: design a new fast-food chain restaurant prototype. They researched current and historic businesses, not all of them "successful" to learn about business models, product selections, market demand patterns, name and product branding and graphics, among other characteristics. This background part of the Project thus covered a range of types: from automat Horn and Hardart to Q'doba, from Boston Market to Subway.

They formed into teams of 4, conceptualized a few ideas and selected one of them to develop. Each team created a schematic business idea: a product, a market, a set of business principles and a scalable enterprise model. Remember that this is a prototype for a chain of retail restaurants.

In my studio the candidates created "Toss!" as a plate or edible "dish" of customer-chosen foods. All foods and nearly all serviceware were compostable on site, where some of the food products could also be grown. The form of the building was a modular assemblage of shipping container-like "rooms" which were pre-constructed and placed on a minimally prepared site infrastructure. Of course it generated nearly all of its power through solar harvesting, efficiency of envelope & equipment, and energy recovery-recycling systems.

The other team created "Brew" as a small scaled microbrewery and cold snack food pub. It was enhanced through selling the bulk of its beer as "take-out" via reusable growler bottles, thus minimizing needed interior dining space. It was situated in an existing 3-story rowhouse in anytown. Site selection criteria for a local franchise required a building able to harvest sunlight enough to support growth of hops and generation of hot water and electrical power.

Amazing work, in an incredibly short time.

My studio: Ari Barkan, Wendy Byar, Nicole Howard, Nora Lober, Chris Minnich, Andrew Richards, Lauren Schaefer and Tiffany Tabeek.

POSTED by blogger Prof. Marston, LEED AP
Use it up, wear it out. Make it do or do without.
- early American saying -

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