Design Thinking and the Built Environment


The potential for developing academic programs focused on design, sustainability and the built environment is latent at Pitt. Capitalizing on the breadth and depth of course offerings in the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences and the Swanson School of Engineering, we propose to enhance and integrate existing undergraduate programs in Architecture and Civil Engineering, and to develop a new graduate-level program that will incorporate experiential learning opportunities in the Office of Facilities Management.

PART 1: Creating pathways from Pittsburgh-area high schools to Pitt’s existing design programs
We propose working with the ACE (Architecture – Construction – Engineering) National Mentor Program of America, Inc. and the ALN (Architecture Learning Network) to create programs for high-school students in the Pittsburgh area interested in pursuing degrees in architecture and civil engineering.

PART 2: Developing a nationally recognized graduate program in design and the built environment
As a new sustainability plan and campus master plan are developed to guide the future of Pitt’s campus, we propose to create a new graduate program that will use the campus as a laboratory to train students to become thoughtful, effective and informed stewards of the built environment. The program would incorporate coursework in Architectural Studies, Civil & Environmental Engineering and Construction Management with work experience in the Office of Facilities Management.

The feature story of the Dietrich School’s alumni e-newsletter, Snapshot.
University Times: Seed grant helps high school students with ‘Experiencing Architecture’

Principal Investigator

Christopher Drew Armstrong
History of Art and Architecture

Select Collaborators

Owen Cooks
Facility Management

Kent Harries
Swanson School of Engineering

John Sebastian
Construction Management Program

Goal Area