Spring 2010

Spring classes start in Berkeley on May 3, 2010. Some classes are six weeks long, some are eight, as noted in the course descriptions below.

3-unit classes: $350 credit; $200 noncredit
6-unit studio class: $550 credit; $350 noncredit

E 183
Permaculture, Bioremediation, and Biospherics
3 units. 8 weeks.
Mondays, 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m
$350 credit; $200 noncredit.
Instructor: Phil Hawes, Ph.D, Architect.

Natural methods for processing waste, designing biospheres, and using living organisms to create life-enhancing human environments. How to build a Permanent Culture for ourselves, — a “Permaculture” — using Biospheric techniques like Bioremediation wastewater treatment systems that use complex living ecosystems to do most of the work. Biotechnics are characterized by ordinary good sense, as found in any Permanent Culture that generates life-enhancing, viable human environments, based on fundamental natural processes, plus a little help from our friends, the engineers. This class features amazing nature-based methods for processing domestic and industrial waste, and shows their efficiency and efficacy. Includes a special session on the value of research using closed ecosystems (like Biosphere 2) to investigate open ecosystems.

Includes a special report on Biosphere 2 by its architect Phil Hawes.  Phil Hawes was the architect for the experimental Biosphere 2. Most recently he has been planning an eco village outside Amarillo, Texas. Professor Hawes is one of the most knowledgeable and dedicated green architects on the planet, and it’s an honor to have him join us again. 

E 112
History and Functioning of Ecological Communities
3 units. 8 weeks.
Mondays, 8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
$350 credit; $200 noncredit.
Instructor: Phil Hawes, Ph.D., Architect

From start to finish, the history and natural principles of successful eco villages, including features necessary to meet the contemporary, “full-service” requirements of a modern community. How early eco villages integrated site, sun, and climate information, using topography, land planning and landscaping, and creating and incorporating the nature-based principles of indigenous building.

DE 115
Superurbia Design Studio
6 units.  8 weeks.
Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.
$550 credit; $350 noncredit.
Instructor: Dave Deppen, Architect

One of the biggest reconstruction projects in history will be transforming the suburbanization of North American into a new sustainable infrastructure, culture and landscape. We will explore the nature of the current situation and the insights of such thinkers as Duany, Kunstler and Linzey. We’ll synthesize approaches such as the Living Building Challenge, Permaculture, Transition Towns and new social experimentation. You will have design freedom to develop new approaches to living space, energy, transportation, food, governance, economics and family and community life.

There will be options to pursue either the transformation of an existing suburban home or a large-scale, soon-to-be-defunct commercial strip. If you are looking to either start or jump-start a design business, this course will be a powerful and motivating experience. This will be a way to learn about one of the growth industries of our time. This design studio will provide a supportive and invigorating atmosphere for all levels of student experience.

D 11
Sketch Journal Drawing
3 units.  6 weeks.
Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
$350 credit; $200 noncredit.
Instructor: Jon Larson, Architect/Artist

Learn architectural drawing by integrating your personal everyday life with art. Inspire and develop your drawing and artistic skills in a supportive format for widening creative expression while developing the ability to see, by keeping a sketch journal.  Artists and architects through history have kept visual journals of favorite designs, images and ideas as a way to remember, understand and grow. This class is intended to complement other SFIA architecture classes.

Topics covered:

  • Your basic graphic toolbox; tips on materials to best fit your needs
  • 3-D; bringing life to plans and elevations with graphics, and a friendly intro to perspective in everyday life
  • Tones, composition and rendering; doing less for more effect
  • Color and media — from wild to meditative
  • Communicating mood and sense of place
  • Biophilic art; design lessons from nature, including the study of growth and metamorphosis

Note about our instructor: Jon is an architect, illustrator and painter who has taught architectural sketching at the Building Education Center in Berkeley for over 20 years. He has also taught art classes locally, presented a lecture on “Art in Everyday Life” and taught drawing at the Waldorf School (East Bay).  His book and magazine illustrations have been published nationally and his artwork has been exhibited in several galleries throughout the Bay Area. Over the last 25 years, he has kept sketchbooks on his travels throughout Europe and the U.S., which he uses as a source of inspiration for his other work. Other projects have included illustrations for a deck of  creativity cards, for generating new ideas, inspired by Brian Eno’s “Oblique Strategies.”  He is also an accomplished musician and has created a slide show of his dream images, set to music.

DE 112
Planning, Financing, and Building a New Eco Village
3 units.8 weeks.
Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
$350 credit; $200 noncredit.
Instructor: Phil Hawes, Ph.D, Architect

A step-by-step process to create an Eco Village, at the apex of “green.” This is a fully participatory seminar studio design course that will plan and develop the steps necessary to achieve a true, sustainable Eco Village. The course will be treated as an actual project, and be tailored for projection into the real world. Impossible? Thinking ahead, we’ll design an ecologically and economically superior community in which to live and work!

E 22
Green Project Management
3 units.  8 weeks.
Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
$350 credit; $200 noncredit.
Instructor: Dave Deppen, Architect

Dave Deppen has had long experience working with real-world green building projects.

 The skillful management of a project is crucial to the accomplishment of green objectives. This class will emphasize powerful (and little-known) techniques of project management, as well as specific approaches to help achieve positive environmental results.

 Topics include :

  • Often missed essentials for starting your project
  • How to guide programming and project priorities
  • Quality assurance timesavers
  • The key to cost control on green projects
  • Behind-the-scenes at certifying systems
  • Best ways to benefit the construction process
  • Team dynamics
  • . . . and more

We will review many examples from real projects.  The core discipline will be architecture, but the class is for both students and beginners in project management, as well as all design professions, including engineering and design consulting.

E 31
How To Uncover the Secrets of the Land
3 units. 8 weeks.
Thursdays, 8:00 – 9:15 p.m.
$350 credit; $200 noncredit.
Instructor: Dave Deppen, Architect

Dave Deppen has worked with pioneering Eco Design luminaries such as Malcolm Wells and Sim Van der Ryn. He has pioneered an extraordinary, nature-sensitive approach to fully understanding and working with the site, sun, and climate conditions of any location.

Topics include:

  • Comprehensive methods for understanding and working with land
  • A new and easy-to-remember way to understand and sense solar orientation
  • Learning from the history of the land
  • Raising your capacity for conscious awareness and observation
  • Methods of native trackers
  • How to interview and learn from those who know your building site best
  • Finding and using little-known, invaluable sources of site information

This class also includes the bonus of a wealth of background on Bay Area history, climate, biology, and ecology. Note: Spring is an ideal season to take this course.


Design for Wildlife
2 units
One full Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m
Class date: Friday, May 21, 2010
Instructors: Dave Deppen, Architect, and Jennifer Berry, Ecologist
$200 for professionals and the public. Special rate of $100 current and past SFIA students and other students and teachers with current ID.

First of its kind workshop on designing wildlife-friendly buildings, landscapes and communities. Focus on ecology and practical design options. Includes wildlife behavior, site-specific methods, materials, wildlife corridors – and more. If you are interested in the future of wildlife and ecodesign, this workshop will be an eye-opening experience.

Designer in Nature
2 units
One full Saturday, 8:45a.m. – 5:45 p.m
Class date: Saturday, June 5, 2010
Instructor: Dave Deppen, Architect
$100 for enrollment by May 28, 2010. If any space after May 28, late enrollment tuition will be $150.

In this special SFIA workshop, we will be out in wild land all day, immersing ourselves in the natural world. Includes:

  • Native awareness techniques
  • Advanced solar orientation
  • Ways of the animals, birds and plants
  • Community and ecology
  • Learning by experience

This workshop will be held on wild land in the Bay Area. After enrolling you will receive information on specific workshop location and logistics. This workshop includes lots of physical activity.