A Vision of Integrative Design
To help students prepare for an engaging, productive career in the design and planning professions, the College of Architecture and Planning has developed a bold vision called Integrative Design. This vision directs the college to:
- Engage design and planning challenges that are significant for our society. We are not an ivory tower. Learning experiences address real issues facing designers and planners as they create healthier, more sustainable, more meaningful environments for the 21st century. In recent years, among many other socially important projects, our students have: designed alternatives to suburbia; built award-winning solar-powered homes; written new codes to encourage livelier, safer cities; discovered ecological design principles in Colorado ranches; proposed ways for neighborhoods to recover from natural disasters; and invented new ideas for affordable housing.
- Engage these challenges in partnerships among the disciplines and with our external communities. No one discipline can address these issues alone. Architects, landscape architects, planners, urban designers, and developers must work together to create holistic, healthy, sustainable environments.
In our college, students have opportunities to:
- Participate in multi-disciplinary teams, modeling the practices of today’s successful design and planning firms.
- Interact with outstanding practicing designers and planners in the Denver metro area, through internships, mentorships, design juries, lectures, and student professional organizations.
Communities of Interest
To implement this vision, the College has organized many of its activities around “communities of interest.” These bring together faculty, students and practitioners across the disciplines who share an interest and expertise in a particular theme, building synergistic relationships as they explore new design and planning ideas.
The college’s communities of interest currently include:
- Emerging Practices in Design
Exploring how the digital design revolution and sustainable design practices are reshaping the professions. These include sustainable design and design/build practices as well as digital visualization and Building Information Modeling (BIM) technologies
- Sustainable Urbanism
Exploring new ideas about creating livable cities in the midst of intense pressures for growth and fragile ecosystems
- Healthy Environments
Exploring how to build healthier buildings, cities and landscapes
- Cultural Heritage
Understanding, interpreting and preserving our cultural heritage in design and planning, including historic buildings, landscapes and intellectual and cultural ideas
Areas of Prominence and Distinction
The communities of interest are rapidly building areas of prominence and distinction for the college through awards and competition wins. Some recent successes are:
- A team of 30 architecture and engineering students successfully defended its championship and took first place overall in Solar Decathlon 2005. The second international Solar Decathlon on the Washington, DC Mall pitted 18 collegiate teams from the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Canada and Spain in a competition to design, build and operate the best solar-powered home, while educating the public about alternative energy. The winning home was built from renewable resources including soybeans, corn and wheat.
- Joining forces with business students, two graduate students won the prestigious 2005 Urban Land Institute Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition for their redevelopment plan for Magna Township in Utah’s Salt Lake Valley. The group, which beat teams from Harvard, Columbia and University of Texas-Austin, was lauded for its “evolutionary strategy” backed by a “resourceful business plan.” The team received a $50,000 cash prize for first place and was further honored in a resolution passed by the Denver City Council.
- Students working in the Learning Landscapes Initiative have designed more than 97 innovative playgrounds for the Denver Public School System, and then studied the impacts of these designs on children’s behavior.
- Students have joined college research projects to document places like Anasazi Pueblo ruins, Hispanic homesteads, National Park structures, and Lawrence Halprin’s 1970s Denver Skyline Park. A Preservation Design Studio explores issues such as adaptive re-use of historic buildings.