Mainstreaming environmental education for architects: the need for basic literacies
Grant, Elizabeth J.
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What are recent architectural graduates perceptions about the level of knowledge required of interns entering architectural practice and suitability of architectural education? Research is presented that examines recent alumni’s engagement with environmental sustainability while in school. Two aspects of their educational experience are surveyed: their readiness for sustainable design work and their familiarity with the benefits of reusing existing buildings. Recent alumni of the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design were asked to explain the areas of practice for which they were best and least prepared, to identify additional educational topics they would have found useful, to name the key purposes and priorities of the discipline of architecture, and to articulate changes they wished to see in schools of architecture. The results point to a current pedagogy where the tacit and explicit knowledge that is critical to the adoption of sustainable approaches to design of new and retrofit structures is undervalued in architectural education. Suggestions from the literature and strategies to ameliorate this situation are presented.