The following article discusses the systems method as an educative tool for teaching sustainable architecture, including environmental design. Based on this method, a systemic model was created which provided a pillar of the learning process that concluded with a solar building project. This method offered a holistic view of the issues of pro-environmental design and led to an understanding of the relationship between the urban scale and the scale of the building. This aspect was considered crucial in teaching sustainable development architecture.
The systems method has been recently used in China as a part of an environmental design course which only lasted for forty-eight lesson hours. The method proved to be an effective educational tool that enabled the obtaining of satisfactory design effects in such a short period of time. Additionally, the method was successful in conditions of cultural and linguistic barriers and a lack of prior preparation of students in the field of architectural design. The created systems model determined a precisely defined path for the teaching process in advance, as the specified issues included only those that were needed to achieve the set project goals. This approach resulted in the optimisation of teaching time, while ensuring the completeness of the assumed results.
Experience gained from the didactic process leads to the conclusions that the systems method can be an adequate educative tool for solving multidisciplinary problems. Based on the example of solar building design, a systems method made it possible to indicate three main external factors that influence the design: macro-scale urban elements (district scale), micro-scale urban development (housing estate) and climatic conditions. The article also presents the possibilities of transforming the system model, in order to facilitate its more universal application, with reference to such issues as the topic of classes, as well as to the required scope and level of detail of the design task.