Integrating water sensitive design in the architectural design studio in China: Challenges and outcomes

Maycon Sedrez, Jing Xie, Ali Cheshmehzangi

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Urban areas around the world are increasingly facing environmental challenges such as water scarcity, water pollution, and water-related disasters, which demands sustainable design solutions for cities. Efforts to introduce sustainable methods in architectural education are noteworthy since the early 1990s. However, Water Sensitive Design (WSD) has not been fully integrated to architectural education. WSD is an interdisciplinary approach that considers the water cycle as the primary element of design strategies, integrating the site’s ecological and social aspects to structure water management. The main objective of this study is to identify cases introducing WSD in an architecture design studio revealing its pedagogical approaches, comparing and discussing with a WSD-focused design studio. This study adapts on an exploratory and descriptive research, analyzing the literature on the topic of WSD in architectural education and documenting a graduate-level architectural design studio that proposes the development of water-oriented masterplan. The results suggest that WSD, as interdisciplinary method, can be incorporated into the design studio as the topic due to its tangible tools and strategies towards water. It also fits the proposal of a design studio to integrate knowledge from diverse disciplines. This unique study presents a comprehensive WSD introduction in an architectural design case and indicative pedagogical methods, contributing to the development of an approach for future related works.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4853
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • Architectural education
  • Architecture and urban design
  • Teaching methods
  • Water Sensitive Design
  • Water Sensitive Urban Design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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