“Many of the most highly rated architecture schools show little interest in sustainable design... The Ivy League schools, which consistently draw top applicants, have not made a noticeable effort to incorporate environmental strategies into their coursework. With few exceptions…the same may be said of all the programs listed in the 2005 Design Intelligence ranking of top schools.” -Ecological Literacy in Architecture Education, 2006 AIA Report and Proposal
If you are looking for an opportunity to really delve into sustainable design (rather than just talk about it), Ecosa is the place for you. For the past ten years we have advocated a radical departure from the traditional approach to teaching design. With in-depth, cross-disciplinary, hands-on programs that tackle real world problems, the Ecosa Institute is the cutting edge of design education.
With the specter of massive climate change threatening extraordinary impacts on our planet Earth, the role of the designer has become one of the most critical in the 21st century. We focus on the power of design both to mitigate the environmental damage our buildings, cities and products perpetrate, as well as its power to recreate a positive and intentional relationship between human beings and the natural world.
The American Institute of Architects has cited our program as an example of a school "outside the traditional universities" that offers "a host of known experts and intensive coursework for young students.” They’ve also said, "In many ways, what students get in one [Ecosa] semester is a more holistic understanding of sustainability than they could presently get at any traditional design school."
The Ecosa Institute was founded on a belief that design can no longer be taught in isolation from other disciplines or a broader knowledge of the world. Design impacts and is impacted by the political, social, environmental, and economic realms and therefore solutions to many of the intractable problems we face can to a large degree be effected through the design process.
Our programs expand past the often rigid boundaries of design education to include planning, urban design, architecture, interiors, landscape architecture, graphic design, product design and more, exemplifying the essential interconnectedness of all aspects of design.
Unlike most programs, students also complete work for real clients with real budgets and real sites, striking a balance between viability and sustainability. We address issues such as how to bring sustainable design to a project with a modest budget and how to engage with clients in advancing their own understanding of sustainability issues.
Through these experiences students learn what it will be like to work on real projects in a professional setting, providing an excellent opportunity for career exploration. The programs also provide extensive exposure to the various professional options that a career in sustainability can provide.