The Concentration in Built Environment Studies allows interested students to study the architectural environment from a variety of perspectives. Architecture is a social art concerned with fine building. It was Vitruvius, a Roman architect, who proposed a number of tests to determine whether a building might aspire to be called architecture. These tests are: firmness or structural soundness; commodity or convenience and utility; and delight or the ability to please the eye and the senses. This concentration allows students the opportunity to study firmness, commodity and delight in architecture, as well as the larger context of the social, ecological, and built environments.
Students in the Built Environment Studies concentration may be interested in working in the green building industry or in pursing a graduate-level professional design degree. This concentration allows students to explore aspects of buildings and their environment within the framework of creating sustainable communities.
This field requires knowledge of the following areas:
- Aesthetics: exploring the nature of space and building materials, looking at basic design theory, the design of simple structures or landscapes, the relationships between buildings and their context, and the study of urban form.
- Human Experience: relating spatial experience to the needs of human beings, the cultural and psychological aspects of space, human relationships with the natural and built environments.
- History of Architecture: introduction to the history of building, its relationship to the aspirations and practical needs of various societies in history, and an overview of the history of architectural styles and urban form.
- Design of Space: designing and constructing environmentally-sound structures that meet functional standards and aesthetic goals.
- Technology and Technique: designing for sustainability and environmental protection, introduction to the basic techniques of construction of structures and landscape elements, understanding the physical and aesthetic properties of materials used in structures and landscapes, familiarity with the building codes and zoning regulations, graphic communications, and computer skills.
Students must take a total of 9 classes in their area of concentration.
Available Built Environment Studies concentration courses vary from semester to semester.