Emerging Ideas

For my entire life I have been exposed to the outdoors.  I was raised in a plant loving family, and have been taking walks in the woods since I could be carried in a backpack.  This exposure has instilled in me an appreciation for living, growing things.  When I decided to embark on my career at the UVa School of Architecture I did not lose my love of nature and try to incorporate the natural world into all of my designs.

After two weeks in ARCH 2230, I have realized that this class will be the perfect facilitator for my thoughts and feelings on environmentally sustainable designs.   My first reading, Nick Baker’s Essay “We are all outdoor animals,” argues for precisely the type of buildings I want to design: buildings that are open to nature and allow the environment to permeate the structure.  In Cradle to Cradle, William McDonough & Michael Braungart describe a factory they designed that was at the forefront of the environmental design movement, a factory where workers wanted to be because it was such a great environment.  McDonough &  Braungart go on to say how this factory represents “only the beginnings of eco-effective design” (76).  Designs and ideas like these are exciting for me because they signify a new era of architecture, an era that I can be a part of.

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Green Wall on the Musée du quai Branly. Paris, France

In lecture we built off environmental design ideas and related them to larger complex systems like the urban fabric of the city and even larger ideas such as climate change.  One main point we hit was the idea of the ecological city, that has important qualities of complex systems: resilience and self-organization and is also self sustainable with its “energy flow as an intensified ecology,” which connected back to my interest in nature.  This discussion inspired me to think more about buildings that incorporate nature into the very fabric of the design.  One other reading from this week was also very interesting to me because it dealt with the idea of integrating natural and artificial systems.  In his piece, A Manual for Ecological Design, Yen Yeang calls this integration ecodesign.  In the next few weeks, and possibly the rest of the semester I would very much like to further explore the concepts behind ecodesign and apply them form the scale of small building details to the urban fabric of the city itself.

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Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale. Milan, Italy

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