Sustainable Architecture and Design Program
Developing homegrown talent in Taitung...
Sustainable Architecture and Design Program at Taitung’s Kung-Tung Technical Senior High School (KTTSHS), was first initiated in 2013, as an extracurricular program named, Playing with Architecture. The program, developed and taught by The Alliance Cultural Foundation’s (ACF) volunteer, Norman Yang, retired Director of M. Moser Associates Ltd. (Taiwan Branch), and lead architect of Taipei 101, was incorporated into the school’s twelfth grade curriculum as a required academic course, after two intriguing semesters of running as an afterschool program, offering students three credits per term.
Sustainable Architecture and Design Program aims to foster homegrown talent who will carry the skills to design sustainable architectures, while integrating the local environment, climate, and indigenous culture into its designs. The course involves lectures, as well as experiential learning to inspire its students. Having the program incorporated into KTTSHS’ required curriculum is a remarkable step for ACF’s involvement. The school not only accepts the program, and recognizes it as one that will be beneficial to the futures of its students; it has also committed a teacher to attend the course through the entire year to ensure its continual success.
With only a handful of architects developed in Taitung, many of the city’s existing structures have been established by firms from outside of the city. In this pristine region, ACF dreams not only to create home-based career opportunities, to create sustainable architecture that applies practically to the local needs, but also to preserve the character of the city, particularly through the youths of Taitung, who are most in touch to their land and its environment.
In the first semester of Playing with Architecture, Mr. Yang received a group of students from different fields of study in KTTSHS, and aimed to nurture their fundamental knowledge of sustainable architecture, and to foster their appreciation, observation, and understanding of the industry. Through a series of six courses, the program led several field trips for students to study existing architectures in Taitung, and to discuss the pros and cons of its designs.
In the second semester, students were given the project to design a sustainable treehouse. Mr. Yang brought students to visit an existing treehouse project, where they witnessed real life dialogues between an owner and architect; as well as the opportunity to discuss and to practice interacting with an owner.
After 40 years of committing to the architectural industry professionally, directing his commitment to the classroom has brought Mr. Yang inspiration and meaning to life more than ever.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso