Ecological Architecture Certificate

The Department of Architecture offers a certificate program in Ecological Architecture that provides an opportunity for students enrolled in the Masters of Architecture or other degree programs to gain expertise in ecological design. The Certificate program also offers practicing professionals the opportunity to pursue specialized training.

The basic goal of the certificate in ecological architecture is to help students develop an understanding of the dynamic interaction between the natural and built environments, and to introduce performance based techniques for operating in that interaction. Ecological design can involve many different kinds and scales of practice, from landscapes to products, and draws on many fields of expertise. In its broadest form it is open, contingent, historical (non-reversible), and organic to its environments.

The term ecology was first coined in the late 19th century to describe the complex role of the environment in the evolution of species, and has grown to become the branch of biology concerned with the organization and dynamics of the entire bio-geosphere. Since the 1930s, the reach of ecological thinking has been extended dramatically by two developments, increased awareness of the environmental effect of human actions and the refinement of general systems theory. It is in that double sense that architecture be called ecological: mitigating the environmental impacts of designing and using buildings and understanding the systemic interconnection of buildings at many different scales.

The certificate in ecological architecture introduces students to the range of approaches in two required courses, and then allows them to pursue different emphases through a selection of elective courses. It is an extension of the basic offerings in environmental concepts and systems required for the masters of architecture, with the addition of different ecological offerings from other departments and schools.

The certificate in Ecological Architecture requires the completion of 2.0 course units of required courses and 3.0 course units of elective courses. Students must take at least one elective course outside of their home department.  This requirement does not apply to dual degree students.

Application to the certificate is made through the Weitzman Office of Admissions. Students who are already enrolled in the Weitzman School should submit a one-page essay explaining their interest in ecological architecture as well as a work plan showing their proposed schedule of study for completion of the certificate.

Program Director: William W. Braham


Required Courses (2 cus)

ARCH7510-001 Ecological, Technology, and Design (1 cu)

ARCH7340-001 Ecological Architecture: Contemporary Practices (1 cu)

Elective Courses (3 cus)

ARCH6320-002 Performance and Design: Parametric Integration (1 cu)

ARCH6320-003 Constructing Technologies Integrating Matter (1 cu)

ARCH6320-005 Daylighting (1 cu)

ARCH6380-002 Building Skins (.5 cu)

ARCH6380-004 Six Facts, Six Scales (.5 cu) 

ARCH6380-005 Lighting (.5 cu)

ARCH6380-007 Building Envelopes (.5 cu)

ARCH7120-401 Cultural Ecology:Roots of Green Building (1 cu)

ARCH7520-001 Building Systems Integration (1 cu)

ARCH7530-001 Building Performance Simulation (1 cu)

ARCH7540-001 Performance Design (1 cu)

ARCH7550-401 Sustainability "101" (1 cu)

ARCH7560-401 Policy and Design: Next Generation Codes (1 cu)

HSPV5160-001 Building Diagnostics (1 cu)

HSPV5510-001 Building Pathology (1 cu)

LARP 7600-001 Topics in Eco Design: Restoration Ecology (1 cu)

LARP 7600-002 Topics in Eco Design: Green Roof Systems (1 cu)

EAS 5010-401 Energy & its Impacts (1 cu)

EAS 5020-401 Renewable Energy & its Impacts (1 cu)

EAS 5030-401 Energy Systems & Policy (1 cu)

EAS 5050-401 Climate Policy & Techology (1 cu)

CPLN 6410-001 Progressive Development (1 cu)

CPLN 5310-001 Introduction to Environmental Planning & Policy (1 cu)

ENVS 4940-660 Toward Env. Sustainability on Penn Campus

LGST 8150-401 Environmental Management Law and Policy

1. ARCH 6320, 6380, & 7320 courses have ARCH 5330 & 5340 (or equivalent) as a pre-requisite. See Director or instructor for exemptions based on equivalent studies.

2. LARP workshop 6120 M2 has limited enrollment for non-LARP majors

3. ARCH 6320, 6380, & LARP 7600 can involve a variety of courses, offered on a rotating and occasional basis. The director will identify suitable electives for each school year.

4. Courses required for a student’s main degree may not be counted toward the certificate.

5. Designated electives can change each year.