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SS1 Syllabus

SS1 Syllabus





Sustainable Systems 1
This course dwells upon the dynamic, energetic phenomena on Earth, and their impacts on how humans conceive and construct buildings and cities. Solar energy drives terrestrial, geology, hydrology, ecology, and, increasingly erratic climatic systems. Beginning with introductions to basic phenomena such as daylighting, thermal comfort, and resilience to extreme weather, students will learn how such phenomena are intimately tied to architectural construction at multiple physical and temporal scales.

In the first half of the course, a research project on world cities will allow students the opportunity to develop representations of non-visible phenomena, as well as research prototypical methods of human climate adaptation specific to their locale. In the second half of the course, students will develop a diagrammatic architectural form for post-environmental disaster multi-family housing in response to various energy systems, making use of various digital tools.

Throughout the course emphasis will be placed on ‘passive,’ or non-electro/mechanical methods for adapting buildings and cities to local (and increasingly variable / warming) climatic conditions. By the end of this course students should be familiar with a series of workflow methods for researching, analyzing, and optimizing architectural and urban form through the lens of energetic systems, and understand the underlying concepts so as to make informed design decisions using various data sources.

  • Forms of energy and their evolving relationships with architecture into the 21st century
  • Energy as a cultural, technical, social, historical, and ecological operator in architecture
  • Energy as a motivation of architecture, not merely an optimizer of architecture


  • Understand opportunities and limitations of digital analysis tools
  • How to analyze site/local/regional climatic conditions
  • How to analyze, at least conceptually, architectural form in relation to energy systems
  • Development of techniques representing  non-visual phenomena and data
  • Use of various modeling software as a generator, as well as optimizer of design ideas
SS1 icon pack

Students will be assessed using a variety of means.  Exams are meant to assess students’ understanding of fundamental principles, as well as synthesize concepts and themes present throughout the course. Project #1 seeks to assess students’ ability to synthesize research using graphic language, where project #2 seeks to assess ability for students to develop new skills as actionable workflows useful to the architectural design process. Assessment of both projects will focus on rigor of research, depth of analysis and error checking, and graphic representation. Although students will not be heavily penalized for incorrect analysis, students should learn how to spot and avoid glaring errors in digital analysis processes. Given the interactive learning process inherent in design school, students are expected to participate in discussions and pinups.

Full Semester Students
City Climates Project*: 35%
Design with Climate Project*: 25%
Exam #1: 20%
Exam #2: 10%
In Class Participation: 10%

Half Semester Students
City Climates Project*: 60%
Exam: 30%
In Class Participation: 10%

Although this course is designed to minimize the possibility of cheating in the traditional sense, we will rely heavily upon content across many resources throughout the research process. It is imperative that you cite sources from which you learn specific pieces of information, not only to give credit to those who deserve it, but also to signal what content is original work conceptualized and created by you, and what content exists on its own terms. All information and drawings originating outside your own brain must be re-drawn by you, and cited with the original source. Failure to do so will result in grade reductions for small offenses, and expulsion from the course for grave offences.

Equal Opportunity
This course, in a way, seeks to give you as designers agency towards providing future human society with comfortable, safe, and delightful structures for habitation. While your instructors are white males, we are very cognizant of inequalities present in our society. Within the frame of this course we seek to celebrate the diversity of minds, backgrounds, and opinions across the BAC community and hope to foster a space of learning, collaboration, and exchange in and beyond Cascieri Hall.  We welcome new ideas, spin-offs, and parallel interests that all of you bring to the table through your unique life experiences. With that in mind, we as facilitators of group conversations will seek balanced opinions from many voices. Inappropriate outbursts, time-wasting rambles, or derogatory comments made to other students or faculty will not be tolerated.

You will receive a grading rubric for each project at least 2 weeks before the final submission date. Below is BAC’s breakdown of grades.


Academic Integrity
As stated in the Campus Compact, the BAC expects intellectual activities to be conducted with honesty and integrity.
Work submitted or presented as part of a BAC course:
 Shall be the original creation of its author;
 Is allowed to contain the work of others so long as there is appropriate attribution; and
 Shall not be the result of unauthorized assistance or collaboration.
Failure to adhere to these guidelines is academic dishonesty, and calls into question the student and the college. Visit
the BAC Academic Integrity Statement:

Copyright Compliance Notice
Courses may contain material used in compliance with the U.S. Copyright Law, including the TEACH Act and principles
of “fair use.” These materials are made available for the educational purposes of students enrolled at the Boston
Architectural College. No further reproduction, transmission, or electronic distribution of this material is permitted.
Course materials may not be saved, copied, printed, or distributed without permission other than as specified to
complete course assignments. Use of the course materials is limited to enrolled class members for the duration of the
course only.

Diversity Statement
The Boston Architectural College is committed to promoting a community that celebrates, affirms, and vigorously
pursues inclusiveness in all its forms.
Full text at

Disability Services
The BAC offers reasonable accommodations to students who otherwise cannot reach their academic potential due to a
learning disability, physical impairment, medical/psychological condition, or unforeseen circumstances that may arise
during the course of their studies. All forms of accommodation are tailored specifically to the individual student and meet
guidelines for educational benefit and academic consistency. Accommodations must maintain academic integrity and a
realization of required learning objectives. Students who are eligible for accommodations are strongly encouraged to
notify the instructor. Students must have appropriate documentation on-file and must meet with the Director of Academic
Services in order to organize accommodations for any course. Please contact the Director of Academic Services at
617.585.0215 or by email at
More information can be found at this link: