The Yale School of Architecture will soon be painting its blue roots green — figuratively, at least.
The Architecture School and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies will soon offer a joint degree program allowing future Yale architects to design sustainably, or to build with the environment in mind. The program, which was developed by a joint committee drawn from both schools, will offer a joint Master’s degree from both schools that includes a Master’s of Architecture I or II and a Masters of Environmental Management. The first architecture track will require four years of work, while the second track will require three, said Environment School professor Stephen Kellert, who served on the FES committee.
“It really builds upon the great strengths of our school, which is recognized as a leading design school, and on the great strengths of the Forestry and Environmental Studies School, which is a leading think tank of and advocate for environmental issues,” School of Architecture Dean Robert Stern said. “The program is certainly unique among the Ivy League architecture schools.”
The program will focus on teaching environmental management while fulfilling the accreditation necessary for a degree in architecture.
“We are combining both the skills of architecture and ecology, so that our buildings and landscapes can result in less adverse effects on the natural environment and create more positive connections between people and nature,” Kellert said. “It’s an attempt to really focus on the challenge to build a more sustainable human-built environment.”
Students who apply to the program will have to be accepted by both the Environment and Architecture schools, Kellert said.
Committee members said the program will focus on the biological impact of the design as well as on design elements that save energy and reduce pollution.
“The field of architecture is trying to figure out how to make sustainable environments,” School of Architecture professor James Axley, who served on the committee, said. “We have figured out the physical side, but not yet the biological side.”
In addition, the degrees will provide education beyond the design of individual buildings, focusing on design of larger areas, such as entire urban landscapes which will result in a greater scope, and impact, than the design of just one building, Axley said.
The new program will also require students to take a specially designed, capstone course, “Advanced Sustainable Design Studio.” The course will be taught by a team of architects, environmental specialists, consulting engineers in sustainable technologies and possibly developers, Axley said.
But the program’s new focus on sustainable design will gradually become visible to all students in both schools, committee members said, citing “Introduction to Urban Design,” a course taught by architecture professor Alan Plattus, which will become “Introduction to Sustainable Urban Design.”
Professors from both schools said they also plan to work together to create new cross-disciplinary courses.