Thesis Projects, Spring 2013

A Balanced Architecture

Peter Suen; advised by Paz Gutierrez, Lisa Iwamoto and Kyle Steinfeld

Our world is one of limited resources. This is more true today than ever. Owing to over population and unchecked consumption, we are fast depleting our most essential resource - water. The U.N. estimates that 1.2 billion people live in areas of water scarcity and another 1.6 billion people face economic water shortage.

Architecture is not divorced from these pressing concerns. In fact, the environmental impact of buildings is well documented. "Green" strategies are certainly beneficial in the construction of a more sustainable built environment. But what about design itself? How do we as architects conceptualize a resource-centric design? We can add solar panels to any roof but that is only a topical treatment for a serious wound.

This thesis proposes two theories on an architecture of restraint. The first is based on an understanding of ornament from a biological perspective. The second borrows other forms of natural intelligence that have a propensity for stability. The hope is that these new ways of thinking about design will help push us towards a balanced architecture.

There's more!

Some other projects from this same class have been posted, as well as some interesting student work from this same year.