Five College Assistant Professor of Sustainable Architecture
Naomi Darling, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is a principal at Naomi Darling Architecture, a full-service architectural practice based in Amherst, MA and New Haven, CT. The firm aims to produce socially responsible and environmentally conscious projects at all scales in terms of size, time, and permanence with a special consideration of site and place. Current projects include a park in Old Saybrook, CT, a farmhouse expansion and renovation in Simsbury CT, and a Memorial Hall and Community Center in honor of Inazo Nitobe, in Sapporo, Japan.
Darling was one of 20 participants showcased in EP:2011, the second annual exhibition of work, art, and designs of emerging architects across North America sponsored by The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Center for Emerging Professionals. Her project, Kernan Tea House, was awarded an AIA New England Regional Award in 2013. Prior to founding her practice, Darling worked at Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects, Studio ABK, and Kengo Kuma and Associates.
Darling’s early experiences working as a researcher studying climate change in Antarctica and as a scientist aboard the SSV Westward were formative experiences that have helped shape her teaching and practice today.
This two-semester course, with an integrated Jan-term field component in Thailand, investigates the intersections of design (building and land use), anthropology/social justice, and ecology, with a focus on a case study in Northern Thailand. The fall semester will build background and theoretical knowledge in these areas generally and our case study in Thailand specifically. Students will critically examine ways in which design is influenced by cultural, historical, and ecological factors. They will learn about social justice issues in Southeast Asia that are impacted by structural forms of agriculture, climate change, economics, and social structure. How can architectural and land use design empower rural peoples? What does resilience look like for rural farmers who face significant economic, social, and ecological change? Over January, selected students will accompany the faculty to our field site in Northern Thailand for primary research. Second semester will be project based with students working in interdisciplinary teams of anthropology/ecology/architecture students. Instructor permission required, with prerequisites for architecture students and a background in either Asian studies, ethnographic methods, and/or ecology for other students.
This is the first studio for those students interested in the design fields: architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and product design. These fields all share a studio based approach to problem solving that is at once spatial, material, conceptual and social. Over the course of the semester, students will be given a series of projects that will introduce visual communication tools such as plans, elevations, and sections, projected drawings and model making. Emphasis will be placed upon developing a conceptual approach to a problem and developing a design process that may lead to unexpected outcomes. The specific projects will address issues of the body, light, comfort and materials. All projects will be presented in a studio critique format with drawings and models conveying the intent of the design project.