Architecture is an interdisciplinary field. It requires a comprehensive general education and an understanding of history and culture, physical environments, and building technology combined with skill in drawing, design, math, and computer modeling. Architects concern themselves with the aesthetics, structure, materials, function, safety, cost, and the environmental impact of their buildings. Because the construction and operation of the built environment contributes about 48% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, architects have become activists in finding ways to make buildings carbon-neutral. While conventional training requires that architects work at a range of scales, from a door handle to a city, emerging environmental standards are focusing their work on Eco-Districts: collections of buildings that optimize the efficiency of energy, water, and waste systems. Architecture students learn about innovative methods to create buildings and communities that are integrated into the natural environment, use technologies and building materials that have the least impact on the environment, and create energy and resource-efficient human structures. In addition to the information students gain in classes, professors throughout the college perform research on energy, climate, geodesign, transit, and water; students have the opportunity to assist with this research.
Sustainable City Project: The Sustainable City Project serves as an educational and outreach interface between the University of Arizona and the Tucson community. The project focuses on issues of sustainable urban development and livable cities through education, outreach, and research. The project is designed to build and support teams composed of university faculty and students representing a diverse array of academic disciplines.
Biosphere 2: Biosphere 2 is owned by the University of Arizona and is an Earth systems science research facility that focuses on the Earth, its living systems, and sustainability. The facility is located in northern Tucson and serves as a center for research, outreach, and teaching.