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Carleton Arboretum Complex Redesign Project

The field of abrupt climate change seeks to understand very fast changes, or “tipping points,” in historical climate records. Course topics include interpretation of historical climate data, methods of measuring abrupt changes in ancient climates, theories for abrupt change, the role of complex earth systems, and the connection to trends in global climate change. The course will directly address our future vulnerability to abrupt climate change through cases studies of past human civilizations. Includes a term-long multimedia team project, with an academic civic engagement component, at the intersection of abrupt climate change and an issue of human concern.

Prerequisites: One introductory course in Biology (125 or 126) or Chemistry (123 or 128) or Geology (115 or 120) or Physics (two five-week courses or one ten week course from 131 through 165). 6 credit; Writing Requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement

Course/Project Website



Arb Complex Design Project Overview

Students work in teams to create several conceptual designs for an enhanced future “Arboretum Complex” at Carleton College.

Students will:

  • Research the current situation and gather information from a range of users of these areas/buildings
  • Look into function, needs, history, land stewardship, energy use, sustainability, and other concerns
  • Form design teams
  • Create four 2D site plans for the new complex
  • Present their work in a public setting at the end of the term
  • Upload their work to a public website

Design Proposal Format

Students were grouped into 4 design teams for the second half of the term. Each team had 5 members.  Students were provided with a template for their Design Proposals that consisted of the following parts. The attempt here was to mimic the world of real proposal writing.
  • Center name and Logo
  • Team Information
  • Design Principles and Strategies (drawing from Ecological and Integral Design Frames)
  • Program of Activities
  • Site Choice and 2D Plan
  • Architectural Inspirations
  • Community Connections

Across all proposal sections, students were asked to integrate issues of current and future climate change in Minnesota.

See “Foundational Team Research Guide” in Resources & Materials for more information.

Resources & Materials

Outcomes and Significance

Follow this link to see all Four Design Proposals.

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