ARCH515: The Sustainable Design course
In the winter term of 2016, Arch 515 focused on a unique research-creation project that engaged the city of Montreal as a living-laboratory of urban culture. Sherbrooke Street served as the site for an exploration of issues concerning urban ecology, resilience, and sustainability - expressed through research, mapping, and the design of installations, architectural interventions, and urban design
Arch 515 promoted a holistic interpretation of sustainability and resilience and interrogated the potential of art and culture to affect real change in environmental practice. Concepts such as agonism, adversarial design, tactical urbanism, placemaking, the commons, civic assets, ecological urbanism, and governance were explored and translated into site-specific designs dispersed along Sherbrooke Street. Each group project engaged contextual issues in different communities, from the contamination of the oil refineries in Montreal East, to indigenous rights and traditional approaches to reconciliation inspired by the Great Peace of Montreal. Others drew attention to neglected civic assets, the potential of underutilised public space, and artistic means of conveying carbon dioxide emissions and other environmental data.
By working through design propositions as a mode of inquiry, Arch 515 assumes that vibrant cultural production is the essential precondition for a sustainable future in concert with necessary but insufficient techno-environmental and legislative remedies. Working within the propositional realm, immediate and practical issues such as urban form, public space, civic assets, infrastructure, sustainable building strategies, governance, finance, and policymaking are critically reimagined.
Ben Wareing, Teaching Assistant
Michael Jemtrud, Instructor