summer SUSTAINABILITY course in session!


Just like many traditional courses, this course has weekly “lecture” for each topic on Mondays, but most of the learning will happen in the homework assignments (typically one or two per week).


Visual Farm Installation
Image courtesy of Retinafunk via Flickr
Images are important: what if I just said, "picture a tent"?
  • Please post homework by Friday so everyone has a chance to look at it and comment before we move on to the next topic.
  • Please put the lesson number at the beginning of every homework submission.
  • The privilege of seeing each other's work is a great one: it allows you to review how different people respond to the same challenge.  All discussions should be respectful.  In other words, disagreement is good; insulting is bad.
  • Posts about architecture are best when they are 80% visual and 20% textual.
  • Much of the homework requires getting out from in front of the computer and actually EXPERIENCING architecture.  If you lack transportation, completing some of the homework may be difficult for you.  Consider getting a study partner for field trips

Pace of the Class

There are several meaningful ways to approach this class, so don't get overwhelmed!

Image courtesy of Robert S. Donovan via Flickr

Tier 1: Architect at Play

This student will read the lessons and let them inform his view as he goes about his day.  He can sketch a neighborhood map while out on a walk or notice qualities of a public building while running errands at the post office.

Tier 2: Building Sleuth

Sherlock Holmes Restaurant at 221b Baker Street
Image courtesy of brosner via Flickr
This student will study the lessons and many of its associated links to thoroughly understand the topic.  She will begin critically thinking about the built environment everywhere she goes.  She will focus her homework time on a few assignments that are of particular interest.

Tier 3: The Intern

This student will approach the class like an upper-level Architecture Appreciation course, doing all of the reading and the homework thoroughly & promptly to be ready for the next lesson.  This student would also be very likely to submit questions for clarification or further reading.

It's quite a commitment, at least equivalent to three credit hours and could even approach a six credit hour class if multiple iterations are done of each assignment.

Wessembergstrasse, Konstanz, Germany
Image courtesy of wernermerk via Flickr

Don't Limit Yourself

And you don't have to pick just one tier!  You might throw yourself entirely into a few of the lessons that you find the most interesting, but only peruse the lecture on topics of marginal interest or if you have a particularly busy week.  We don't play feeling-guilty-for-not-doing-the-homework at the zessn schoolhouse!

However, we DO play collaboration here, so please share your architecturally related thoughts, not just official homework.

Problems with Field Trips

If you're having a hard time scheduling field trips, you can do the exercise by remembering places you have already been.  Recall is a great memory skill (Just ask Shawn Spencer)!

"Field Trip!"
Image courtesy of Marcin Wichary via Flickr
Alternately, you can wait to do the homework for a certain building type until you happen to be going there anyway, like a restaurant, a library, a grocery store, etc.

It is not as helpful to substitute online or published images for a visit, because architecture really must be inhabited to be understood, both the good stuff and the bad.

Technology: Digital Images

To create digital images
  • Take photographs with a digital camera or phone & download them to your computer;
  • Take photographs with your smartphone & upload them to Google +;
  • Make a drawing by hand and either photograph it or scan it in;  OR
  • Create a drawing with software like Photoshop and save the image as a jpeg to be shareable.

Technology:  Google +

To create an online photo album from digital images you can share with the class,
  1. Sign into Google + and from the top left dropdown menu, select Photos
  2. Click on “Add Photos”
  3. You will be prompted to drag the photos to the window or open the file browser to select the files.
  4. Once they have uploaded, select “Add to album” at the top left and type in a new album name. 
  5. Select the blue Done button.
  6. You will be prompted to share the album with a comment.  In the “To:” box, type (or select) zessn schoolhouse.

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