Program in Environmental Design

University of Colorado Boulder

DWB Seminar


The DWB one-credit hour seminar (ENVD 4764-801) is a controlled-enrollment course offered both fall and spring semesters that focuses on either specialized skill building or community engagement projects. Course topics and instructors vary from semester to semester but provides students the opportunity to:

  • Engage with other students from all class levels in a team environment
  • Develop informal faculty and peer mentoring relationships
  • Explore specialized topics

Spring 2009 – Platte Canyon High School

Instructor: Rick Sommerfeld

Students spent the semester working with administrators, teachers, students, and parents at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado, to propose design suggestions for re-purposing the room where the "2006 Platte Valley High School Shootings" occurred, the event that claimed the life of Emily Keyes. The course utilized community meetings, site visits, research and drawing assignments in order to achieve the outcomes required by the community.


Fall 2009 – eVolo Skyscraper Competition

Instructor: Harry Koutsis

Students had the chance to be exposed to an international competition, highly publicized and would publish the best design for a skyscraper that is creative and conscious of program, space, and issues that has to do with constructing in a particular environment.  The format of the course had students explore communication and visual techniques in a group of upper and lower classmen that would present in front of a panel of designers and architects who chose the best project to move into submission.


Spring 2010 – Sacred Space: The Columbia Cemetary

Instructors: Rob Pyatt, Matt Jelacic, Rick Sommerfeld

Students designed a structure that focused on storage, restoration and display.  A structure that responded to the natural site conditions and took advantage of the climate passively, using nontraditional construction methods both ‘green’ and vandal resistant. Students had the opportunity to engage and discuss designs and budget with actual clients, the state Historic Society and present to the Historic Landmarks board in Boulder.


Fall 2010 – Research Skills for ENVD

Instructor: David Kahn

Professor Kahn taught student’s problem-solving skills and specific research resources for architecture, planning, and allied disciplines.  Students learned advance search strategies, how to tackle complex topics and select appropriate resources for projects and papers they would encounter throughout their educational career, and generate an efficient and reflective research perspective.


Spring 2011 - The Color of Walls

Instructor: Stephanie Krusemark

The seminar explored what it meant to be a person of color in the architecture, design, and planning profession.  Students were provided a space for authentic discussion and self-reflection to discuss the challenges within the educational journey and how to develop strategies to continue to persist into the profession.  The course utilized narratives, journals, interviews, projects and models from people of color, and invited guest speakers to share their experiences in the field.


Fall 2011 - 13 Ways of Looking at Visual Representation – Workshop Series

Instructor: Martha Hutchison 

Every Friday, workshops covered the variety of ways to represent and communicate design ideas visually.  Workshop topics cover both analog and digital techniques along with an emphasis on the concepts behind the techniques.  This included Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, how to create a web portfolio, and 3D rendering.


Spring 2012 - Curating Public Space: Denver International Airport

Instructor: Marcus Farr

Students experienced the background and practice of curatorial and public installation as a form of representing the University in a fast-paced public venue.  The seminar venue and client was the Denver International Airport.  Students analyzed the space to create themes and research selections of works for display, and gained an understanding of real world processes of installations, its complexities and potential. 


Fall 2012 - Community Engagement Seminar

Instructor: Charlie Chase

Students took the opportunity to understand the role of public and community participation through lectures from experts and facets from the public sectors, and develop skills in presentation and public speaking.  Students engaged further in this piece of the design process by actively going to observe meetings and discussed the effectiveness and limits of public participation.


Spring 2013 - Modes of Seeing: Skill Development for Freehand Sketching and Drawing

Instructor: Marianne Bellino

For designers, sketching is a fundamental skill that is acquired through practice to demonstrate an idea or a 3 dimensional space quickly.  Students learned to develop their fluidity with freehand sketching to enhance their knowledge of buildings.  Students took trips around boulders and maintained a sketchbook for weekly drawings to successfully demonstrate a mastering of the skill and eventually explore their own techniques.


Fall 2013 -

Instructor: George Lim