Case Studies in Ecological Design

(original handout, week 2; topics ended up somewhat different; basic instructions remain the same)


1. Form a team with 2-3 other students to do library, Internet and telephone (and possibly field trip) research on one of 24 topics significant to an understanding of the state of thinking about ecological design of buildings today (see list below);

2. Conduct a literature survey to assemble up to date information on key aspects of your topic;

3. Use these materials to write a 20-30 page survey paper, suitable for introducing an intelligent junior or senior undergraduate to the topic (consider your papers as possibly the main way others in the Eco-Design program learn about your topic).

4. At the same time, prepare a summary of your results in the form of a poster approximately 22" by 34" , combining text, graphics, titles and captions. The posters will go up during the ninth week of the quarter in one of three poster sessions at which your team will be available to discuss your findings, and answer questions from students and faculty.

Topics include notable energy resources, alternative building materials, leading designers and thinkers, and a number of landmark projects which indicate the state of the art.


Week of October 4-8: form research teams, commit to topic o October 25: first presentations -- 10 minute talk by each team outlining key points about the topic; faculty and student feedback; no written work due at this stage.

November 29-December 3: final presentations -- finished case study paper and poster by each team, poster session with each team on call for discussion, questions, and answers

Things to cover in your case study:

resources: scope of the resource; basic science of using the resource; typical configuration(s) of the technology which uses the resource; upstream and downstream impacts; costs; non-technological meanings associated with the resource.

materials: description of composition, kinds, and sources of the material; typical configurations when used in buildings; basic engineering of using the material; upstream and downstream impacts; costs; non-technological meanings associated with the material.

designers/thinkers/leaders: personal history; aspects of ecological design addressed in the body of work; major projects; influence (actual or potential role in discourse or action about ecological design); reviews or evaluations of the body of work.

landmark projects: goals or intentions of project; aspects of ecological design embodied in the project; key actors (dsigners, engineers, clients, publics, etc); process followed by designer(s); performance information; costs.

For all case studies: good bibliography; clear, accessible writing; judicious use of images; attention both to facts and tomeanings.


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