Design for Spirit

For designers, it is no small thing that humans are inescapably spiritual beings, but only intermittently religious. Philosopher Erazim Kohak once noted (1984, 170) that humans can bear an incredible degree of meaningful deprivation but only very little meaningless affluence. Most of us tend to grow and mature in the former condition, but come undone in the latter. This is not a call to deliberately incur misery, which tends to multiply on its own with little assistance, but rather one to...

The Building Program Equals the Fundraising Strategy

As a rule, about half of the money for college and university buildings must be borrowed. If this experience is a useful guide, the ideas embedded in the building program are as important as the need for the building itself. Lacking exciting ideas, it is hard to create enthusiasm about the project among potential donors, or anyone else for that matter. Buildings are means, not ends, but a means to what The Lewis Center was conceived as an experiment in education relative to solar technology,...

Education of Designers

As much art as science, the design professions are not simply technical disciplines, having to do with the intersection of form, materials, technology, and real estate. The design professions such as architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning are first and foremost practical liberal arts with technical aspects. Writing in the first century BC, Vitruvius (1960, 5-6) proposed that architects be educated, skilful with the pencil, instructed in geometry, know much history, have...

Resource Flows and Campus Ecology

The operation of educational institutions in ways that undermine the future of the students we purport to educate cannot be justified. As learning organizations, colleges and universities would monitor their environmental impacts and amend their operational guidelines in order to eliminate pollution, carbon dioxide emissions, and toxic chemicals, and support the emergence of sustainable local economies. Construction and building renovation would conform to the highest standards possible. Other...

Develop a Larger Learning Process

This project originated on the periphery of institutional consciousness. No formal or informal feedback loops bridged this project with other building projects, or to institutional operations or trustees. The project had no strong advocate within the administration, which may explain why no effort was made to develop a shared vision, what Senge labels common mental models among the trustees, senior staff, facilities management, and faculty. The administration initiated no review of the project...

Reducing Energy Consumption

Since Facilities Resource Management assumed operation of the campus in July of 1998, fossil fuel use has decreased by 15 . There is, however, room for substantial further improvements. A twofold approach to reducing energy consumption consists of 1) improving the thermal efficiency of buildings and operating efficiency of equipment, and 2) instituting creative policies and educational initiatives that encourage students, faculty, and staff to conserve energy. Buildings and activities within...

Increasing Efficiency and Decreasing Environmental Costs of Production and Distribution

Minimizing pollution associated with energy production should be accomplished with a twofold approach that focuses on increasing efficiency of energy production and generation, and on shifting to less polluting forms of energy production. Coal is the most polluting of fossil fuels, generating toxic particulates locally,2 acid deposition regionally, and contributing disproportionately to global climate change relative to other fossil fuels. Recognizing this fact, Oberlin College seeks to reduce...

Energy Production and Use General Policy Statement

Energy transformation and use results in a variety of environmental pollutants, having impacts locally, regionally, and globally. Fossil fuels, particularly coal, are the greatest source of energy-related pollution. The principal impacts associated with using fossil fuels are the release of CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere. The scientific consensus is that the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere has already led to undesirable changes in the global climate, including an increase in...

References

The Spell of the Sensuous. New York Pantheon. Ackerman, Diane. 1991. A Natural History of the Senses. New York Vintage. Adam Joseph Lewis Center, Project Goals and Principles, Oberlin College, April 19, 1996. Adamson, Davis, Lisa Matthiessen, and Peter Morris. n.d. Costing Green A Comprehensive Cost Database and Budgeting Methodology. Alexander, Christopher. 2001-2004. The Nature of Order. 4 vols. Berkeley Center for Environmental Structure. Alexander, Christopher, Sara...