A comparative study on sustainability in architectural education in Asia-with a focus on professional degree curricula

Santiago Porras Álvarez, Kyungsun Lee, Jiyoung Park, Sun Young Rieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Architectural education is a key factor in the re-thinking of the whole industry toward a system of more sustainable buildings and cities. Asia is the continent with the highest population growth and the fastest urbanization rate on earth. It is necessary to educate professionals with a well-balanced and integrated knowledge of local issues and global standards. This paper focuses on education for sustainable architecture in Asian countries. This is an exploratory study, analyzing the curricula of 20 selected influential schools in 11 countries. Sustainability-related courses are identified, classified and summarized in qualitative tables (course matrix) and in quantitative graphs. The analysis helps to identify trends and regional or individual uniqueness. The results show that sustainability education is organized in very diverse ways, according to contents, intensity and sequence. The percentages of sustainable courses range from less than 5% to 25%. Technology-related courses are the most numerous and homogeneous. Sustainability design studios show the greatest variation, from zero to almost 100%. General theory courses help in dealing with sustainability issues through traditional and vernacular philosophies, technologies and strategies that are very adequate to their geographical and cultural settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number290
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 22


  • Architectural sustainable curriculum
  • Asian countries
  • Local urban cultures
  • Locality
  • Professional degree in architecture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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