Course syllabus


ARK620 Crash course: Beyond sustainability lp3 VT22 (4.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Contact details

Course purpose

There is no simple formula for how to practice sustainable architecture and planning. There are myriads of solutions focusing on different aspects of sustainability within the built environment. Navigating, prioritizing and selecting among them is not an easy task. This calls for not only knowledge about a wide range of sustainable architecture and planning tools, but also being a reflective practitioner concerning how to apply what and when and understanding how different approaches and solutions influence each other. This course strengthens the architect as a reflective practitioner committed to a sustainable architectural practice in an expanded field.

The course Beyond Sustainability aims at supporting students to further develop and explore methods for their personal and individual approach to sustainable architecture and planning through a reflective and practical understanding of the necessary transformation of the profession. The content of the course will every year adapt to the current forefront questions and knowledge production in the field of sustainable architecture and planning.

After this course, you will eventually be able to build your personal and professional code of conduct, your own reflective manifesto beyond sustainability or a deeper reflection on a personal and professional paradigm change within architecture. You will be able to search within and beyond the conventional frame of architecture and dare to project yourself among leaders in architecture practices beyond sustainability.

Specific course objectives for 2022:

  • Build and reflect upon your personal engagement and your professional behavior within practices and methods beyond sustainability.
  • Conceive, analyze and realize ideas beyond sustainability through critical and speculative architectural thinking and visual representations


See Course Summary Below and Canvas Calendar

Course literature

Speculative and critical approach

"Beyond Speculative Design" book

Yavuz, I. & Tumturk, O. (2017). Envisioning Future Forms of Urban Spaces Through Speculative Design Explorations: An Urban Design Studio Experience. DAKAM - 2nd International Interdisciplinary Conference on Future and Foresight Studies.

Emergencies, adaptation and resilience

Davis I. (1983), Disasters as agents for change? Or: Form follows failure. Habitat Int., Vol. 7, No. S/6. pp. 277-311

Archer D., Marome W., Natakun B. et al. (2020) The role of collective and individual assets in building urban community resilience, International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, 12:2, 169-186.

Archer D. (2019), Climate crisis planning: a toolkit for building local urban resilience, IIED,

Ecological design

Shu-Yang, F., Freedman B., Cote R. (2004) Principles and practice of ecological design, Environmental Reviews

Todd, J. (2019). Healing Earth: An Ecologist's Journey of Innovation and Environmental Stewardship. North Atlantic Books. Chapter 3.


Asara, V., Otero, I., Demaria, F. et al. (2015), Socially sustainable degrowth as a social–ecological transformation: repoliticizing sustainability. Sustain Sci 10, 375–384.

Hagbert P. et al. (2019), Futures Beyond GDP Growth Final report from the research program 'Beyond GDP Growth: Scenarios for sustainable building and planning', KTH

Prats V. (2017), Södertälje a gateway to degrowth, Master’s thesis, KTH

Human Rights

         Booklet on Human rights

         Universal declaration on human rights

        Bristol, G. (2012). Architecture and Human Rights.                 

Course design

The Beyond Sustainability Crash Course spans across 3 weeks, tackling three big contemporary challenges: ecological injustice and emergency; social injustice and emergency; economic injustice and emergency. To address such challenges, three design approaches will be introduced through lectures from teachers and contributions from international leading scholars. This year's design approaches are planned to be: Ecological + Climate Sensitive Design, Architecture for Human Rights and Design for De-growth.

The Course will be accordingly divided into three phases:

  1. Setting the stage: the challenges and correspondent design approaches: introductions and lectures on the first days to orient the students around the concept of "Beyond Sustainability" and current related challenges and design approaches.
  2. Application of concepts: students, in groups, will co-create a relevant and interesting case study site and community that can be dealt using Architecture + Human Rights, Ecological Design and/or Design for De-growth approaches. The approach will be speculative and critical. The students will then diagnose the case study and apply the design approaches in order to adapt the chosen site through design strategies aiming to create a more resilient community/site.
  3. Peer-learning towards the Beyond Sustainability Collage: the final days of the course will consist of group presentations, feedback sessions and round-up with a workshop to co-create a common collage of what Beyond Sustainability means for the class.

Changes made since the last occasion

The course has changed from last year where each week of the course focused on a different topic.

Learning objectives and syllabus

After completion of the course the student should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate a deepened understanding of methods, techniques and processes required to handle complex design issues within the field of architecture and urban design.
  • Conceive, analyze and/or realize architectural ideas through representations, prototypes and/or virtual or material processes.

Abilities and skills

  • Make advanced use of design media in order to inform and drive their design process.
  • Use the above in order to develop a design project of limited scope.
  • Analyze and communicate their designs through various modes of representation.
  • Appropriately devise refined types of representation to highlight specific conceptual issues and/or sensory qualities.

Ability of assessment and attitude

  • Promote the value of refined means of representation and prototyping in architecture.
  • Critically relate their own work in the course to a larger issue or question in architecture, as outlined in the brief.

Link to Syllabus

Examination form

Student projects will be presented verbally according to requirements (e.g. drawings, models, media, text) outlined in the brief and assessed in a final presentation. Each student project is further reviewed after submission.

Grading: TH - Fail, 3, 4 or 5

As a minimum, to pass the course and receive a grade, you need:

  • Presence at all scheduled activities is required. Some absence can be accepted if there are legitimate reasons (e.g. temporary sickness). In other cases, supplementary assignments have to be handed in in order to compensate for absence. Non-compensated absence will negatively influence the grades;
  • Active participation at seminars, workshops and in group work;
  • Course participation and exercises of sufficient quality (i.e. that fulfills the course objectives and presentation requirements);
  • Delayed submission of hand-ins without any approved motivation will negatively influence the grades;
  • Electronic course evaluations should be filled in.


The grading will be based on the final presentation (including your poster) and on each group manifesto. The criteria for grading (3, 4 or 5) are: analysis and understanding, presentation and communication, critical reflection.






Analysis and understanding

Show basic understanding and ability to diagnose the chosen case study and related emergencies

Show good understanding and good ability to diagnose the chosen case study and related emergencies

Show deep understanding and very good ability to diagnose the chosen case study and related emergencies

Presentation and communication

Ability to communicate your work through narrative and visualization

Good ability to communicate your work through narrative and visualization

Very good ability to communicate your work through narrative and visualization

Critical reflection

Ability of critical reflection on the main concepts learned through the course and especially on the Beyond Sustainability concept

Good ability of critical reflection on the main concepts learned through the course and especially on the Beyond Sustainability concept

Very good ability of critical reflection on the main concepts learned through the course and especially on the Beyond Sustainability concept


The balance of the examination throughout a grading scale across the different assignments and in relation to the different learning outcomes is found in the Evaluation Matrix, see below.

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Course summary:

Date Details Due