Integrative approaches to architectural design + environmental technology pedagogy are essential in educating future generations to respond to impending building energy use challenges. This paper will describe new approaches to incorporating building physics and building technology in the design studio via a diverse cohort of students and faculty, with strong emphasis placed on the development of innovative architectural strategies operating at the intersection of urban demographics, house and housing design, building performance, and sustainability.

The United States Department of Energy reports that our buildings account for forty percent of all energy consumed nationally. Our focus on high performance buildings at the Georgia Tech College of Architecture aims to reduce that percentage and meet the rising demand for design and building performance professionals to evaluate the environmental impact of design decisions. Continuing a twenty-five-year trajectory of research leadership, Tech students and faculty are leading the way in digital design, building simulation, engineering, and construction integration.

Over the past four years, students from various schools across campus have been working together in a seminar and design studio setting to expand 21st century housing options. Changing urban demographics, sustainability targets, and alternative energy requirements are investigated through smartly researched and elegantly designed housing and public space propositions.

The move from an ecologically aware architecture towards an architecture immersed in the emerging debates about carbon footprint and energy consumption is in part driven by increasing international concern over resource availability and delivery. Through reduced costs of alternative energy capture, higher efficiencies, rapid evolution of upstream technologies and applications and more robust software platforms along with growing social, political and economic debate, the definition of sustainability is evolving - moving to transform integral parts of architectural practice and education from a primarily aesthetic and assembly oriented trajectory to a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between design thinking and building performance.ii

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Author notes


Michael Gamble, Associate Professor, architect, director of graduate studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Architecture, and creative director at Gamble + Gamble Architects in Atlanta.


Russell Gentry, Ph.D., and Associate Professor and director of the doctoral program at the Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Architecture.


Godfried Augenbroe, Ph.D., Professor, directs the building technology area in the doctoral program at the Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Architecture.