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Sustainable and Ecological Architecture in the 21st Century and its Roots


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


Sustainability and ecology are – world wide – the most important issues in the present-day architectural debate. In the architecture of the 1960s and 1970s we could find these themes as well but on a very modest scale. Sustainability can a.o. refer to the re-use and adaptation of existing buildings, to the use of environmentally friendly materials but also to the development of completely new technics that aim at purifying the air, controlling the light and heating, and the re-use of waste water within buildings. Interesting enough, these developments have pertained to a re-evaluation of Late-Modernist high rise architecture. It is in highrise that we encounter the most spectacular solutions to environmental issues. Sustainability and ecology seem to bring forward completely new and unexpected shapes and forms in architecture, new relations between building and their environment, and new usages of greenery. In this course students will explore the roots, the theory and practice of sustainability and ecology in architecture and urban planning.

Course objectives

  • to get insight in the history, theory and practice of ecology and sustainability in architecture;

  • to learn to find, read and evaluate critically the relevant literature on the subject;

  • to think up and work out a case-study;

  • to present this case-study in class;

  • to act as a referee and to learn to evaluate the presentation of other students;

  • to write a paper (5000 words).


The timetable is available on the Master Arts and Culture website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture;

  • Seminar;

  • Research;

  • Excursion (one day excursion).

Course Load

Total course load for the course: 10 ec x 28 hours = 280 hours.

  • Lectures: 2 hrs p.w. x 4 = 8 hours;

  • Seminar: 2 hrs p.w. x 8 = 16 hours;

  • Study of compulsory literature for seminar: 4 hrs p.w. x 12 = 48 hours;

  • Writing a draught of the case-study: 40 hours;

  • Preparing oral presentation and preparing powerpoints: 18 hours;

  • Writing a final course paper of 5000 words = 150 hours (reading texts, collecting research material, searching and reading additional literature, composing and writing the paper).

Assessment method


  • first draft case study (20%);

  • oral presentation (20%);

  • final paper (60%);

ResMa students that take this course will write a paper that reflects the demands of the Research Master. That is, they will have to formulate more complex and original research questions than the MA students, include a critical positioning towards the state of the art of its subject, and produce a longer paper (7000 words including bibliography instead of 5000 words).


If one of the first two items (first draft case study, oral presentation) is insufficient (but not lower than 5,0), this can be compensated by the final paper (but only if 7,0 or more). The final paper should always be rewarded with a 6,0 or higher.


A resit is possible for every assessment.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • to present the student with relevant information on the course

  • to present the students the powerpoints shown in class, and as a discussion forum

Reading list

James Steele, Ecological Architecture. A Critical History, London (Thames & Hudson) 2005.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.




Mw. Dr. J.G. (Juliette) Roding
Administrations Office Huizinga