Seven students in Industrial Design and one student in Architecture recently participated in a two-week intensive experimental learning course to study sustainable design with bamboo. The course took place in South Ecuador, specifically in Pichincha, Ecuador's capital province, and Manabiwas. It was led by Associate Professor Jonas Hauptman, who teaches our graduate Architecture and undergraduate Industrial Design courses. The program, which ran from May to July, was held in collaboration with the Regeneration Field Institute, an Ecuadorian bamboo building disaster relief organization founded after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck coastal Ecuador in April 2016. The institute's staff consists of experienced architects, social/environmental entrepreneurs, farmers, and wood/bamboo carpenters.

The driving force behind this program was "to provide students with the opportunity to develop a real-world global perspective on the challenges of decarbonizing architecture and building products in the global south." Ecuador, a country with an extensive architectural history and a contemporary movement towards bamboo construction, provided an ideal setting to address technical studies and various environmental issues such as climate change mitigation, social equity, and environmental stewardship. This unique study abroad opportunity allowed students to approach building from a geographically broader, bio-design perspective, utilizing local, sustainable materials from Latin America. This program will be offered again next summer and will be open to all programs and all years from freshman through graduate students, so please stay tuned for future announcements!