2021 ACSA Teachers Conference, Curriculum for Climate Agency: Design in Action

ON PAPER // Reciprocity Between Architecture and Environment

Teachers Proceedings

Author(s): Felix Heisel & Sasa Zivkovic

This paper outlines and discusses a number of pedagogical strategies developed for a recent First Year Introductory Design Studio at Cornell University’s Department of Architecture. The global climate and resource crises are calling for paradigm shifts in the way we design, build, and manage our physical environment. Importantly, those paradigm shifts also fundamentally challenge the way we teach architecture. The studio aimed to introduce students to the issues, elements, processes and interdependencies of both sustainability (environment, climate, politics) and architectural design (geometry, materiality, form, structure). A total of five assignments and their results are presented in this paper, historically contextualized, and pedagogically analyzed. Each of the exercises incrementally introduced new architectural concepts related to environment, body, material, culture, landscape, spatial tectonics, and representation. As the semester progressed, project narratives were layered, expanding a student’s understanding of architecture as a complex and playful set of abstracted, reciprocal–geometric, proportional, formal, performative, constructed and natural – relationships.


Volume Editors
Jonathan A. Scelsa & Jørgen Johan Tandberg