Architecture Program


Date of this Version

Spring 5-9-2009


Something is wrong and we must make it right… or at least find the most effective starting point to effect change. Global warming is a complex issue; there is no one cause, no single effect. It is a problem that has become connected to nearly every facet of today’s society. From species extinction and intensified weather events, to food shortages and rising sea levels, global warming has the potential to change our lives forever. As we face the greatest threat ever posed to mankind, it becomes a question of what to do now? ¬This project began as an exploration of how coastal habitation might adapt to the changes caused by rising sea levels. Beginning with an examination of the ways in which people currently live in, on, or around water, it became clear that new methods would be necessary to successfully treat this changing condition. The considerations of architectural possibilities proposed by early research were simply reactions to an event whose effects are relatively unpredictable. These reactions would be like designing architecture to be “less bad”. The basic re-creation of a house designed to handle rising waters is not good enough, it doesn’t suggest an answer to the source of the problem, rather just solves a way to keep going in the same direction. So, how can architects design a means of habitation that truly impacts change? The Earth has just passed the point in which more than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. As a result, I have chosen to focus on the detached housing unit within the suburban context. The current trend of city expansion (the sprawl effect) occurs in an outward horizontal direction that consumes mass quantities of land. In addition to the spending of the raw materials to create this expanded infrastructure, this growth also is energy intensive. This combined consumption leads to unprecedented amounts of waste. The suburb is the strongest example of this wasteful environment. It is a landscape that doesn’t consider the land. While there has been much analysis and proposed solutions for the creation of a better suburban environment, they tend to focus on solutions for the car-oriented lifestyle. This project argues that it is not just the car, but the dwelling that exists within this environment, and that it is crucial to re-evaluate the way in which we choose to shelter ourselves and occupy land. This project will focus on developing a new dwelling that becomes productive instead of consumptive in areas of energy, land, and materials.

Included in

Architecture Commons