BEYOND RULES OF THUMB: KINDLING ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN EDUCATION IN EAST AFRICA
Authors: Olweny, Mark
Acknowledging the importance and relevance of Environmental Sustainable Design (ESD) has kindled a shift in contemporary architecture education, with schools of architecture incorporate ESD as components of programmes: in specific course units; as electives; or in some cases transforming entire programmes, placing ESD at the core of architecture curricula. While this would seem to be a positive development, it is evident that this is not always matched with a change in teaching.
This paper looks at the use of Rules-of-Thumb in teaching ESD in architecture education, as a possible problem or hindrance to the application of ESD principles in architectural design. The reliance on Rules-of-Thumb as the basis for teaching (and learning) ESD principles fails to recognize developments in the field and associated complexities associated with this. Going beyond the Rules-of-Thumb approach, may be key to engaging students (and faculty) in discourse on ESD as part of architecture education. It could be a basis for exploring context and engaging students in contextual design as a generator of both ideas and information. Through some examples, some of these opportunities will be explored as a way to go beyond Rules-of-Thumb, to stimulate ESD education in East Africa.