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Once per year, at different venues,  SBSE members meet to discuss teaching methods, to share  their  teaching experiences, and to discuss ways of furthering their skills.

SBSE Annual Retreats

2017: CRAFT: Shaping Buildings, Ecologies, and Cities

Sublimity, OR

July 25–28, 2017

Materials, buildings, neighborhoods and cities are intricately connected by complex systems that are intended to provide comfort, beauty, and well-being. The 2017 retreat theme, CRAFT, focuses on tools, strategies, resources, and innovative design practices that we develop to inspire our students to create appropriate environments.
CRAFT is purposely intended to have multiple meanings—from hands-on sculpting or construction to create powerful low-energy design projects to matching theory to actual performance. In accordance with long-standing retreat tradition, participants will be asked to share their wealth of knowledge and procedure from their architecture programs or practices.

2016: Design for Zero Energy, Water, and Waste

San Francisco, CA

June 18-21, 2016

With precious and limited water resources, how actively are California’s green buildings addressing water conservation and management? What can we do to assert a greater environmental priority for water and energy use in buildings in our own regions? From best practices, new research, and advanced management systems in buildings in California, what lessons can we learn to to guide our teaching of building design as part of the solution to the current energy, water, and waste issues. What strategies are appropriate for different locations? What are the limitations in some states and how do we move forward in our stewardship of the environment?

2015: Regions and Localities 

Highlands, NC

June 16-19, 2015

Green building design is a global activity, and it’s the responsibly of architects and engineers to understand green strategies for many climates and users. The 2015 SBSE Retreat theme, Regions and Localities, focuses on the strategies, tools, and ideas that members of SBSE are using to teach and practice appropriate building design for region and place. How do we teach appropriate strategies for many locations, and how can we continue to value place while working globally?  

2014: >Adaptation

Biosphere 2, Oracle, AZ

June 19-22, 2014

Over the last three years, politicians have transitioned from climate change mitigation-driven policy to climate change adaptation-driven policy, an acknowledgement that anthropogenically-driven global warming is inevitable, and that the time is at hand for innovating resilient adaptation methodologies.

2013: Measuring Design: Models + Metrics

Mt. Baldy Zen Center, Mt. Baldy, CA

June 21-23, 2013

The theme of this retreat is measuring, in all its possible connotations. The goal of this year's retreat is to interrogate the idea of measuring design and the design of measurements in teaching, research, and practice of architecture from a variety of perspectives.  

2012: The Next Generation
McCall Field Campus, McCall, ID & Integrated Design Lab, Boise, ID
June 15-18, 2012
The Next Generation focuses on our continuing effort to enable architecture studio culture to implement the goals of the Architecture2030 Challenge. We call on faculty, practitioners, content experts, and students to share tools, case studies, and innovative studio exercises with attendees through workshop experiences. We’ll augment the participants’ contributions with materials and exercises relevant to the Next Generation project. 

2011: Architectural Education: Trends in Teaching and Learning
Los Poblanos Inn, Albuquerque, NM
June 15-18, 2011
The retreat focused on numerous small scale personal interactions and a few large group summary sessions. Many small scale discussions happened concurrently and each break-out group summarized and presented an overview of their summary statement to a full gathering of retreat participants. We held two such cycles per day with ample unstructured time in between for networking, cross-group discussions, and other free-form activities, including meal time chats, walking in the desert, and plundering each other’s syllabi.

2010: Water: Down to the Last Drop
The Springs Preserve, Las Vegas, NV
May 14-16, 2010
This Retreat focused on the tensions occurring among all parties who use water and make demands on that finite resource as well as how we educators can best sensitize our students to these issues. Through our desert experience, in a city where designing water solutions at every level is so crucial, we hoped to devise new strategies to address this important aspect of building science/design education.
2009: The Leap to Carbon Zero
Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec
June 24-27, 2009
This Retreat built on the agenda set forth in New Forest and delve into issues surrounding Carbon Neutral Design. What is it? How is it defined? How do we take our current sustainable and passive design teaching and make the big LEAP into teaching students how to design to that more particular ZERO target? We're looking for your ideas, best lectures, discrete projects, and larger studio initiatives.
2008: Resetting the Agenda
WIT, Ashurst Lodge, The New Forest, England
July 23–26, 2008
In the spirit of "Resetting the Agenda," the SBSE New Forest Retreat focused on new directions in building science research and architectural education, organized around two objectives: to share new and emerging best practices and to chart a course for SBSE’s engagement in global discussion on the future of both research and education.
2007: Out of the Box
IslandWood, Bainbridge Island, Washington
June 27–30, 2007
The 2007 Retreat focused on successful environmental design activities and innovations SBSEers are working on with practitioners, the community, K-12 students, and/or have developed as part of their research. The "Box" may be loosely defined as what architecture faculty traditionally do "in-house;" within classes at their own universities.
2006: Integral Sustainable Design
Colorado State University Pingree Park Mountain Campus
July 15
18, 2006
The 2006 Retreat was designed to provide opportunities to step outside our daily lives, slow down, unplug, and reflect on how we might, as design educators, look beyond our current environmental technology and ecological design teaching to establish more integral and holistic approaches to teaching and learning, taking what might be the next step in our collective evolution.
2005: Greener Foundations: Environmental Technology and the Beginning Design Student
Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia
June 9
12, 2005
The 2005 summer retreat was held in Savannah and focused on the question: Should environmental technology be a component of beginning design courses, and, if so, how?
2004: Twenty Years Later: Reflections & Projections on Research & Teaching
Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, Cascade Head, Oregon
July 7
11, 2004
At this session, we took stock of what we have learned over the past twenty years, and what the opportunities and challenges are for the next twenty. A record number of conference participants discussed new research, new gadgets, and new problems on the idyllic coast of Oregon.
2003: Architecture as Pedagogy
Waycross Conference Center, Morgantown, Indiana
August 11
15, 2003

The focus of this session was on the relationships between the messages we deliver about buildings and the buildings from which we deliver those messages. Our conversation revolved around the manifestations of architectural and environmental wisdom in buildings where the lessons are explicit and demonstrable.
2002: Ecological Literacy: Greening the Architectural Curriculum
Sorensen's Resort,  Hope Valley, California
June 11
14, 2002

We explored the role of ecological literacy in architectural education. What is ecological literacy? What does an architect need to know to create environmentally appropriate designs? How should ecological literacy be taught in schools of architecture?
2001: Cultivating Teaching Building Technology
Redfish Lake Lodge, Stanley, Idaho
June 9
12, 2001

This retreat focused on sharing teaching materials, learning exercises, course designs, and design projects that link ECS topics with design intent. We discussed the future of environmental technology teaching—Who are we hiring; how are they trained? Over 20 architecture schools are seeking architectural technology teachers. How will we meet this need? Faculty, students, and invited guests talked about current research projects and on-going scholarly work.
©SBSE: Society of Building Science Educators, 2014
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