CCA's interdisciplinary approach promotes a broad, culturally driven discussion about issues of sustainability. The college offers a wide range of courses that touch on the subject, giving students a deep understanding of the processes in which they, as "makers," play such a pivotal role. They graduate equipped with the tools they will need to innovate in a way that is socially and ecologically responsible.

Design | Fine Arts | Humanities & Sciences | Interdisciplinary Studios


ARCHT540 BT: Green Building (Undergraduate)
Instructor: Mara Baum
This course introduces an integrated approach to sustainable development and the design of high performing green buildings that are efficient, healthy, durable, and cost effective over the long term. Benefits and challenges at the global, local and building scales will be discussed. Current and evolving practices will be explained and illustrated using recently completed projects as case studies.

ARCHT560 AE: Urban Waterscapes (Undergraduate)
Instructor: Mona El-Khafif
To live with the water, to live from the water, and to be in danger by the water is an economical and physical fate for many cities situated along coastlines and river fronts. Urban Waterscapes focuses on the latest urban developments in various cities to examine how urban design strategies and architecture are dealing with structural changes that emerge as we move from an industrial/technological age to an era defined by leisure, tourism, and media.

This seminar investigates how cities can profit from this change by reconstructing their image, and more significantly, by expanding their public spaces through the occupation of land supported by technical infrastructure that offers new urban programs for the contemporary city of the 21st century. As case studies for architecture and urban development, this course will study urban transformations in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Barcelona, Bilbao, Venice, Lisbon, London, Genoa, Beirut, Alexandria and many other important global waterfront cities.

ARCHT560 AE: Nature in Arch History (Undergraduate)
Instructor: Peter Allen
This history seminar intends to historicize and problematize current debates around sustainability. It critically explores the long history of attempts by architects and urbanists to create built environments that incorporate, preserve, or harmonize with the natural world. In doing so, it emphasizes that nature exists in a complex social interrelationship with human urban cultures. Relying frequently on the urban and architectural history of the San Francisco Bay Area, the course examines the changing design paradigms toward nature of different generations of American architects and urban theorists.

The course also frequently uses nature-focused architecture theory to return to the contemporary relationship between humans, their built environment, and nature. The focus of the class is on student participation in open discussions, regular short writing assignments, and a critical interpretative case study based on either historical or contemporary examples.

MARCH621 GE: Space & Nature (Graduate)
Instructor: David Gissen
Nature, as we know it, is changing, and while architects, urbanists, designers and other spatial producers address these changes their strategies are often limited to the "organic" discourses of modernity and the "green" theories of late modernity. This course offers those designers and conceptualizers of spatial realms a whole host of additional theoretical concepts cognizant of the socionatural complexity seething in the contemporary world.

Each week we examine key terms from geography, critical theory, and the philosophy of science, while exploring these terms' possible relations to architectural, urban, and design theory. We examine terms that describe complex socio-natural web-works of integration, such as "the milieu," "networks," and "machines"; we examine socionatural processes of becoming such as "production," "territorialization," and "metabolization"; and we examine the things that emerge from these processes and fields of interaction such as "cyborgs," "multiplicities," and "quasi-objects." In pursuing these links between space and nature we cover key works by Georges Canguilhem, Gilles Deleuze, Bruno Latour, Donna Harraway, Neil Smith, Antoine Picon, William Mitchell, Matthew Gandy, Maria Kaika, and Erik Swyngedouw.

This course is for students interested in pursuing an intellectually challenging agenda for the relation between architecture, urban design, interiors, industrial design, and nature, and it is useful for anyone interested in considering interactions between nature and space outside notions of ecological harmony and balance. Participants are required to complete weekly readings, engage in class participation and complete assignments related to the readings.

The course explores issues and ideas of architecture and its context in larger systems of culture and knowledge.