Circuits, Circles, and Loops: Towards a Regenerative Architecture

Present assumptions indicate that the management of our material world accounts for more than half of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly fifty percent of these emissions are attributed directly to building construction. And these numbers are predicted to grow, more than doubling the gross amount of material extraction and flow around the planet by 2060. This course asks how we design new architectures that fit within the circuits, circles, and loops of a healthy, regenerative material ecology.

Through in-class lectures, case studies, and hands-on workshops, students will develop a comprehensive understanding of both contemporary theory and practical applications surrounding lifecycle material design. They will actively research topics such as systems ecology, extractive geographies, life cycle material modeling, circular design, pervasive connectivity, biomaterials, adaptive reuse, indigenous and traditional craftsmanship, healthy materials, social equity, and other pertinent subjects. Additionally, students will acquire advanced proficiency in utilizing software tools and innovate new fabrication processes to address material flows around and through buildings effectively.

Beyond theoretical knowledge, this course offers a unique opportunity for students to actively confront the environmental and human impacts associated with material management in the built environment. Through hands-on, design-led learning experiences, students will be encouraged to tackle these challenges by designing and building real-world prototypes through semester-long team projects that utilize industry and Harvard University material resources. Ultimately, students will develop a robust research framework to investigate, deconstruct, and invent new material life cycle design strategies that critically engage pluralistic design solutions toward a new regenerative architecture.