Ecological Practices

Students at work in their master's thesis.

The Ecological Practices Graduate Research Group critically engages environmental systems, and examines the role that architecture and urbanism play in harnessing and stewarding them. 

Our research recognizes the built/natural environment as a complex web of interacting parts constantly exchanging energy and resources. In keeping with this perspective, we are interested in developing architecture and urban design that is as dynamic as the context from which it arises. 

Architecture, along with its allied professions of urban design, landscape architecture, and planning, must be in the forefront of creative thinking about the post-industrial era. Because we make and unmake the world daily through building, we are responsible for a large percentage of resource extraction, depletion, energy use, carbon emissions, waste and transportation costs. It is projected that buildings consume as much as 60% of the world’s energy divided between our industrial production and buildings for other uses.

The Ecological Practices Graduate Research Group offers an intense exploration of the role that our discipline plays in the making of the next world. This focus requires collaborative association with allied professions and disciplines, reinforced by our close relationship with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, and through existing Dual Degree Programs. Using seminars, studios, research, design/build and study abroad, faculty and students endeavor to understand the opportunities and responsibilities of creating a more sustainable, healthy, vibrant and resilient world.

Related Courses

Affiliated Faculty

  • Martha Bohm
    Martha Bohm examines the intersection of design with energy efficiency, healthy materials and ecological sensibility through research, teaching and critical practice. She is an associate professor of architecture and associate dean for academic affairs.
  • Joyce Hwang
    Joyce Hwang is associate professor and director of graduate studies with the Department of Architecture. Through her teaching, research and critical practice, she confronts contemporary ecological conditions through creative means.
  • Nicholas Rajkovich
    Nicholas B. Rajkovich, assistant professor of architecture, investigates the intersection of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and adaptation to climate change. He directs UB's Resilient Buildings Lab.