Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.Arch.

Degree Granting Department

Architecture and Community Design

Major Professor

Steve Cooke, M. Arch.

Keywords

Sustainability, Tropical, Architecture, Residential, Solar, Aquaculture

Abstract

The world is facing two fundamental problems. The first problem is a rapidly increasing demand for energy. The second problem is increasing greenhouse gas emissions that are directly resulting from our energy consumption. The primary greenhouse gas in question here is carbon dioxide produced from the burning of fossil fuels. It has been demonstrated through scientific articles and studies that carbon dioxide is directly linked to rising atmospheric temperatures. Buildings represent a significant percentage of this CO2 production. Many architectural theses and treatises have been written advocating architecture that is more energy efficient and which uses sustainable materials and processes as necessary steps towards solving the global warming crisis. With the threat of global warming looming, everyday architecture must go through a transformation. Sustainable buildings should not be limited to rarefied architectural gems.

Instead, sustainable architecture should become a commonplace condition in the built environment. In order to achieve this, we need sustainable architecture that not only addresses the environmental issues but also pays for itself and pays the building owner for taking on such a task. To answer this need, I intend to design a mixed-use multifamily building that exists in the environment as a living system. As all living things, it must function utilizing the resources available in that environment. It must have a practical and economically viable on-site energy production and storage methodology that is environmentally benign and takes advantage of freely available natural resources. It must react to changes in the environment to better manage its resources and it must be able to store resources for later use. Lastly, it should foster sustainable living practices of its occupants.

By building in this way, architecture can take on a new role as symbiant rather than parasite in the environment, producing its own pollution free energy and clean water. Each building acts as a life support system for its inhabitants but is also part of a macro scale biosphere. If resources are managed carefully, an exportable energy surplus can be generated representing an economic benefit to the owner. This provides an economic directive to adopt sustainable practices.

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