Energy Accounts: Designing the Future, January 23-24, 2014

Energy is too abstract. It provides a common measurement for vastly different kinds of capabilities, and so requires plans, images, narratives, and other kinds of accounts to make it useful for policy and design. Energy accounts take many forms, from data-driven resource projections to heat or air flow simulations in buildings to images of future […] more…

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 […] more…

Architecture and Energy: Videos

Videos of the Architecture and Energy symposium are now available. Vimeo:  http://vimeo.com/album/1824487 more…

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…

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 […] more…

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, […] more…

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 […] more…

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 […] more…

Performative Practices: Architecture and Engineering in the Twenty-First Century

2011 ACSA Teachers Seminar June 16-18, 2011 / New York, New York Co-chairs / Kiel Moe, Harvard  University / William Braham, University of Pennsylvania Ivan Illich argued that the modern era of technology, characterized by tools, instrumentality, and function, gave way in the late twentieth century to the age of systems, characterized by complex configurations, self-organization, and […] more…

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 […] more…
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