Assuming that buildings in our near future can achieve carbon neutrality, what next? More importantly, what is necessary in the short term to transform the way we design and think about buildings to achieve carbon neutrality and beyond? Can architectural pedagogy deal with how buildings integrate with the larger community and ecosystem around them, how buildings are constructed and/or manufactured to optimize resource use, and how they adapt to changes and are repurposed to meet future needs? Pedagogy for this future is about instilling a way of thinking about environmental design that is both conscious of and active in energy and carbon emissions, but also the health, wellbeing, and productivity of building occupants. Expounding on these questions, this paper will analyze current architectural curriculum and recent student design competitions against the U.S. Department of Energy’s Future of Buildings initiative. The discussion of the gap analysis results shows a deficiency about thinking about architectural design for the future. The paper will highlight where our design education succeeds and falls short toward preparing students. Additionally, thinking about this future context will highlight beneficial and detrimental aspects of the current pedagogical landscape to further whole-building design concepts to achieve a carbon neutral future for the built environment.

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