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Romancing Sustainable Architecture

(The academic approach and practice in Pakistan) (International seminar on Sustainable design of buildings, SB-08 Liverpool, U.K 2008) Syed Faisal Sajjad Architect/ Faculty member Department of architecture, National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan ABSTRACT The research paper shall be based on the experience of a live project of designing the curriculum based on a broader vision statement for a masters program in Sustainable Architecture for the Department of Architecture, National College of Arts, Lahore. With increasing global concerns for sustainability and the developing world being a major stake holder, more and more efforts are made to make this subject into one of the core subjects in the academic structure. The problem identified is the persisting belief in the existing body of knowledge for providing the theoretical and epistemological basis of a new studio practice based course. The main problem with such an approach is that all that is being taught is taken as universal truth which is theoretically not a very sustainable idea and no new addition/ alteration in the existing body of knowledge regarding Sustainable Design is possible under such approach. Sustainable design and for that matter all the disciplines now are ever evolving and growing and problems are identified and addressed in respect of their specific context rather than developing universal solutions. Developing critical tools in teaching is a prerequisite for an analysis and insight based course. The studio teaching methodology has a great potential for improvisation and self critique of the subject. Therefore the emphasis is on Sustainable thought as it has a capacity to mould and change itself according to the changing context in all the sense of the term. The argument also extends to the practice of sustainable architecture as a product and extension of an academic studio activity. The last part of the research report shall deal with the mechanics of designing and running such a course, based on a carefully worked out vision statement and philosophy of the course. KEY WORD Sustainability, Knowledge, Practice, Tradition, innovation, Critical thinking, Deconstruction WORKING METHODOLOGY Starting with the deconstruction of the notion of sustainability as it exists in the body of knowledge in tradition and deconstructing its use as universal truths in the studio teaching of sustainable design. Developing an approach based on critical thinking and analysis in the studio practice to evolve tools of critical analysis for the existing body of knowledge. This shall give a totally different and a theoretically more sustainable approach towards designing such a course and the methodology of structuring and implementation. The argument shall end with a critical debate on the studio teaching methodology.