- Architecture and Energy: Influence of Climate and Region
Architecture and Energy: Influence of Climate and Region
Buildings are not sustainable, neither are cars or shoes or smartphones, they can only be more-or-less efficient in their consumption of resources and so moderate the environmental effects of human activities. The smallest meaningful unit of sustainability is probably the city-state, or the city and its surrounding region, [...]
- Architecture and Energy: Videos
Videos of the Architecture and Energy symposium are now available.
- Architecture and Energy
Architecture and Energy:
Questions about Performance and Design
January 27, 2012
University of Pennsylvania
In the formation of an ambitious five-year, DOE-funded project to reduce the energy consumption of commercial buildings (Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster, GPIC), a challenging question has persisted. Does energy consumption influence architectural style? Putting the question in its original form, should more energy-efficient buildings look [...]
- Building Technology: ‘Steel as required’
It was during the 1940s and ’50s that the general mode of teaching building technology that would be prevalent in North American architecture schools for the next four decades was firmly established. The division of instruction in building technology into discrete courses such as structures, construction, and environmental systems arose in response to a variety [...]
- Household Power: How Much is Enough?
The language of high-performance can seem a bit strained when applied to the home. By comparison to commercial buildings—offices, stores, or factories—where productive work is the point, contemporary houses are mostly sites of consumption. The last century of household technological advance has largely been dedicated to “labor-saving” in the pursuit of comfort, for which the [...]
- Temptations of Survivalism
Get off the grid, collect rainwater, stockpile supplies (maybe some weapons). What could be more sensible than developing some independence from potential disruptions in your supplies of food, water or energy, and from the unexpected costs and social unrest such disruptions can unleash? The temptations of survivalism are not limited to alienated militia members: the [...]
- Re(de)fining Net Zero Energy: Renewable Emergy Balance in Environmental Building Design
a b s t r a c t
The notion that raw materials for building construction are plentiful and can be extracted “at will” from
Earth’s geobiosphere, and that these materials do not undergo any degradation or related deterioration
in performance while in use is alarming and entirely inaccurate. For these reasons, a particular building,
like an organism or [...]
- Environmental Accounting: Waste and Value
“Emergy” means waste, it also means value, and so poses a fundamental question for environmental accounting.
Emergy is Howard Odum’s neologism for embodied energy or energy memory, the total energy used in the production or preparation of a product or process, whether natural or artificial. Put the other way, it accounts for all the energy transformations [...]
- Odum: Cascades of Power
It is all about POWER.
One of Howard Odum’s most compelling ideas concerns the cascade of energy (food) that develop in established ecosystems.The diagram by Thomas Abel illustrates the classic example: the large amount of photosynthesizing plants required to support a smaller population of herbivores, who in turn support a smaller population of carnivores, and so [...]
- Household Conditioning (if you are cold, put on a sweater)
Better, far better, the houses of olden time, with their great roaring fires, and their bedrooms where snow came in and the wintry winds whistled. Then, to be sure, you froze your back while you burned your face, your water froze nightly in your pitcher, your breath congealed in ice-wreaths on the blankets, and you [...]
- Clothes, Shelter, Personal Conditioning?
In the history of technology, buildings can be viewed as direct descendants of clothing, as elaborate devices for personal protection (and personal expression). In a lineage diagram they would have developed from the coverings of plants or skins, and then in Semper’s view, the development of the first fabricated coverings, textiles of one kind or [...]
- Ecology, Technology, and Design
My work draws on theories of ecological design and on the history and philosophy of technology to examine the complex interaction between the built and natural environments. To rethink ecological design at the beginning of the twenty-first century means reconsidering the strong claims made about technology – utopian and dystopian – through the twentieth century, [...]
- Color. Power. Velocity
The colors of twenty-first–century cities are largely determined by the competition among consumer products and commercially produced coatings and finishes, which vie for recognition in ever more visually saturated environments. Not that cities haven’t always been colorful. In a contribution to the architectural color disputes of the nineteenth century, Gottfried Semper cited a description of [...]
- Malcolm Wells, 1926-2009
Malcolm Wells, the original prophet of underground or earth-sheltered architecture, died on November 27, 2009.
I still remember reading about his architectural office in Cherry Hill in the early 1970s, a startlingly light filled room beneath a meadow that restored the suburban site to its natural condition.
That ethic became the basis of his gentle architecture, for [...]
- Is Sustainable Design Avant-Garde?
Is sustainable design, or ecological architecture more specifically, a kind of avant-garde?
I don’t mean to ask if it is fashionable, which it certainly is, but whether sustainable design is understood only in terms of new advances or breakthroughs, according to the military metaphor that has come to define the arts more generally?
What I mean more [...]
This site collects my lectures, writings, and especially new essays on ecology, technology, and design.
I am director of the certificate program in Ecological Architecture in the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and on the Executive Committee of the interdisciplinary program in Integrated Product Design (IPD), jointly offered with the School of Engineering and Applied Science. My interests are in the intersection between these areas, their convergence with the use of complex, dynamic systems. I am also Interim Chair of the Department of Architecture.
207 Meyerson Hall School of Design University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104
215 898 5728 firstname.lastname@example.org
This site uses the WordPress theme 'Futurosity Magazine' by Robert Ellis (originally at Upstart Blogger, now at Futurosity), which I first encountered on brettsteele.net. I was somewhat shocked to discover that the site was a blog, and it made me realize that when the posting pace of a blog was adjusted, slowed down in this case, the different speed produced a different kind of publication. .
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