Architecture's ecological footprint
Tharp, Sean Patrick
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A word that has become mainstream to members of the architectural community is Sustainability; but what does this word mean and why is it so popular? The root of this word is 'sustain,' which by definition means: to give support or relief to, to supply with sustenance, to support the weight of. Still, what does this mean to the architectural community? This thesis project will explore an alternative approach to design, in order to create an environmentally responsible high school, located in El Centro California. It will do more than just be "less bad." Like McDonough's approach to design, this thesis project will use nature as an example of how to design. Using strategies that allow this high school to function more like nature and strive to the ideal of a, "living building," a building that exists as if nature itself created it. These strategies will be as important to the design of this high school as other building components. They will create an outline from which the building will be designed. Using environmentally friendly strategies, systems, and technologies as the form generator for this high school will allow the building to become part of a solution to environmental issues facing architecture today, not just prolonging its destruction. This high school will be at least 30 percent better than California's energy code. It will provide enough daylight so that every classroom will function without the need for electric lights during school hours, run completely on clean energy from renewable resources. As well as convert waste or byproducts from one system into resources for another. Testing, modeling, calculations, and computer analysis will be used to prove that the design of this high school meets these goals.