The importance of environmental architecture

The study of architecture covers many areas, including engineering and design, but it is also important to remember the environmental impact buildings can have on the places we live.

Designing and building an architectural masterpiece will require plenty of inspiration and creativity, but first of all you will need a qualification.

As an architecture student, you will study everything from engineering and structural design, to building and project management, to graphics and design, and business.

In Australia, you have the freedom to choose a path that suits your particular goals. There are thousands of courses on offer. The Australian education system has a strong international reputation and is known for its effective structure and innovative policy developments.

Australia is also one of the best places to live. It is a young, vibrant and friendly country in which students can live, learn and grow. So if you want a quality education and a good lifestyle, Australia’s the place to be.

Dr Henry Skates, a senior architecture lecturer at The School of Environment, Griffith University, Queensland, says there are a great number of benefits to studying architecture in Australia:

“Australia has a wide range of climatic conditions and associated challenges that provide for very interesting climatic responsive architecture. These range from drought conditions as found in the central desert regions, through to the recent extreme weather events that we have seen such as the floods and cyclone in the Tropical North. Having to deal with extremes of climates is just one example of how students of architecture in Australia are prepared for a wide range of career possibilities.”

Modern architecture in Australia

“Looking at how communities live together sustainably is also an important consideration within architecture study”

Sustainability is the key issue in studying environmental architecture, with energy efficient buildings, renewable energy applications, passive solar design and the use of environmentally responsible materials some of the more practical applications in Australia.

Other important considerations are surface water run-off from built-up areas and the ecology of building sites, as well as the health and wellbeing of building occupants, including daylight, exposure to direct sunlight and the use of healthy materials in construction.

“It’s important, these days, that when buildings are designed and built, that people of all stages of life are taken into account,” says Dr Skates. “On a larger scale, looking at how communities live together sustainably is also an important consideration within architecture study.”

Programmes related to environmental design are focused on providing students with an integrated approach and skills in responding to this demand.

The themes of sustainability and social and cultural awareness are not simply treated as separate subject areas but wholly integrated into the design stream. An understanding of environmental design strategies and the impact they have on the social and cultural context is a key quality of graduates.

A degree is the foundation study for a career as an architect. Architectural Studies graduates may apply to progress into courses such as the Master of Architecture, designed to provide academic qualifications leading to accreditation for employment as an architect.

Whichever course you choose, you will experience a unique kind of education. Studying in Australia promotes innovative, creative and independent thinking. You will learn to work as part of a team, to communicate effectively with others and to develop the practical skills and intellectual abilities you need for global success in the field of architecture.

Written by Louise Durack (2011)
Communications Officer
SEET (Science, Engineering, Environment and Technology) Group
Griffith University

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