The Training of Canadian Architects for the Challenges of Climate Change

by John Mummé, Architect

The paper examines an often-overlooked dimension of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the built environment: the training of construction professionals to participate most effectively in the large-scale reduction of GHGs. Architects are one of the key construction professions and this project explores the training of students at Canadian architecture schools – the professionals of the future.

The built environment sector is a crucial element in the struggle to reduce greenhouse gases in the face of climate change. Recent studies show the sector to be responsible for as much as 44% of GHGs and energy use. As a result, the importance of the sector in both the production and the potential reduction of GHGs makes the question of how construction professionals in general, and architects in particular, are trained for climate-literacy both pressing and important. There is, however, surprisingly little research on the education of Canadian construction professionals for climate change.

To begin to fill this gap, this study examines how Canadian architecture schools are training the next generation of architects in regard to climate change. This study looks at the training of architects in the eleven schools of architecture in Canada whose programs have been accredited by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board, and how these programs deal with the issues of climate change in their curricula.

It also looks, for international comparison, at a number of major non-Canadian architecture school
programs recognized as substantially equivalent to those of the Canadian schools.

Website analysis and a number of discussions with program heads, faculty, and students from a number of schools were conducted on the program requirements and course offerings from the various schools, to see whether and what type of courses on climate change are offered, and through which conceptual lens the issue is viewed.


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