Design with Nature

“In many ways, what students get in one semester is a more holistic understanding of sustainability than they could presently get at any traditional design school.” -American Institute of Architects (Ecological Literacy in Architecture Education Report) 

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Real Clients. Real Projects.

Gain hands-on experience designing with nature to find solutions to global issues. Students develop and hone their skills in project planning, self-discipline, collaboration, creativity, and the design process as they work individually and in diverse groups on multiple design challenges; including projects that engage actual clients, real sites and real budgets. From constructing a scaled sculpture model to presenting design solutions to a real-life client, projects are a hands-on way of applying what you’ve learned and are an important part of the portfolio you will create.  

Ecosa CCJ

COALITION FOR COMPASSION AND JUSTICE

The task for Ecosa design students was to understand the issues surrounding homelessness in Prescott on a systemic level, and to provide CCJ with a number of deliverables that used design to further the goals of the organization. Students worked in teams to solve various aspects of this design challenge, and were expected to interact with the client (CCJ) at the start of the project in order to gain an understanding of the client’s needs, develop empathy, and hone their listening skills. Students presented concepts to the client (CCJ) as an initial rough concept, which showed students’ research strategy and direction, in a final presentation which included approaches to this design challenge, and in the final project design.  

Review the final presentation. 

ACPA Ecosa

ARTS & COLLEGE PREPARTORY ACADEMY

As consultants for the ACPA expansion, the Ecosa Institute cohort has had the opportunity to communicate and design with a real client and its architecture firm. This project has inspired us to apply ecological design principles learned throughout our semester. We were influenced by visits to sites wherein systems such as photovoltaic installations, passive solar design, water catchment, and placeappropriate building materials have been employed successfully. ACPA’s strong, supportive, and open-minded nature inspired us to present three creative design concepts that encourage students to express their individuality, grow as a community, and develop into ecological stewards and future leaders.  

 

AGROECOLOGY AND AQUACULTURE 

Lake Victoria or Victoria Nyanza is one of the African Great Lakes. Spanning three East African countries – Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda; it supports over 30 million people, employing millions either directly or indirectly in fishing and fish-related industries. Lake Victoria is a sick giant. A rapidly growing population, clearance of natural vegetation along its shores, the loss of many of its indigenous fish species, the prolific growth of algae, dumping of untreated industrial effluent, and a booming fish-export industry.  

A Plan for Mbita, Kenya As a participant in the Fall 2009 Certificate in Regenerative Ecological Design, Simon designed plans for a fish farm at the Dorothy Byrne Vocational School in Mbita, Kenya. Working on the project inspired him to continue his studies at Ecosa. The client then flew him to supervise work on the project and he was later inspired to continue advanced studies at Ecosa. 

Review the final presentation

Ecosa_6th Street

SIXTH STREET REDEVELOPMENT

Prescott Sixth Street Redevelopment The Ecosa Institute students have been asked by a council member of the City of Prescott to create a vibrant new “urban” component in the downtown area of Prescott that will enhance the visitor experience and bring a new economic hub.

Students researched into both the social, economic and natural systems of the area. Students developed an understanding of the whole area, not only its history and the current human impact, but also the climate flows; air, water, vegetation, fauna, people, and traffic in all parts of this area.

The final proposal included: Streetscape renovation – including addition of bioswales and bike lanes, a “heart” of the district with modular housing over shops and dining, riparian restoration – a no-build zone with native plantings, new bus stops made of repurposed materials, a public art walk from downtown leading to 6th street and more. 

 Review the final presentation


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WORK WITH REAL CLIENTS  

You'll work on real client projects, build your portfolio and open the door to internships and work opportunities.

LEARN FROM THE ECOLOGIES OF ARIZONA  

3-Day Aboriginal Living Skills Trip with Cody Lundin, Visit the Hopi Reservation, Arcosanti, Cosanti, and Taliesin West. 

MENTOR WITH LEADERS IN ECOLOGICAL DESIGN  

Pliny Fisk III, Cynthia Fishman, Mark Lakeman, Brad Landcaster, Michael Ben-Eli and more.

What Our Students Are Saying 

"As an architecture student, my experience at Ecosa enriched my entire lifestyle by nurturing a more holistic approach to thinking and designing. I’m proud to say it’s the best experience I have had in education. The hands-on study/projects with real clients show how education should be, and all the guests were unbelievable.”


"A whole new perspective on the world! I have a clearer understanding of the systems at work in our society today and the greater implications of all the variables at hand. I have gained more awareness of the complexities of the global challenges facing us today and for the first time, I now feel empowered to be able to tackle these problems and come up with possible solutions. The course was definitely a catalyst for my life and has impacted choices in my daily life as well as my career. ”  

A leading program for sustainable design