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Toward an Architecture of the Next System

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Sustainability is systemic. At the core of un-sustainability is a growth-oriented economic system whose continued expansion has become a net detriment to natural, social, and human capital. In this context, how can architecture, as a profession and an artifact, respond? This presentation considers 5 propositions:
1. Architecture & radical efficiency
2. Architecture & democratic infrastructure
3. Architecture & sustainable materials
4. Architecture & regenerative metabolisms
5. Architecture & social capital
A talk at Miami University, November 2018.

Published in: Environment
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Toward an Architecture of the Next System

  1. 1. TOWARD AN ARCHITECTURE of the NEXT SYSTEM Carl Sterner | Miami University | November 2018
  2. 2. New York, New York, 2012
  3. 3. Hebei Province, China, 2016
  4. 4. Tybee Island, Georgia, 2016
  5. 5. Hammond, Louisiana, 2016
  6. 6. Santa Rosa, California, 2017
  7. 7. Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California, 2018
  8. 8. Galveston, Texas, 2017
  9. 9. Cincinnati, Ohio, 2018
  10. 10. Sustainability is systemic.
  11. 11. Sustainability is the ability of a system to maintain viability over the long term.
  12. 12. Root cause of un-sustainability: Growth-market
  13. 13. Throughput & waste
  14. 14. Throughput & waste
  15. 15. Neoclassical economics: Ecological economics: Source: Herman E. Daly, Ecological Economics and the Ecology of Economics: Essays in Criticism. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 1999.
  16. 16. Centralizaton, brittleness & inequity
  17. 17. Centralization & brittleness
  18. 18. Centralization & waste
  19. 19. Commodification: turning non-consumption into consumption
  20. 20. Commodification
  21. 21. Mobilization: erosion of ties to people & place
  22. 22. Mobilization
  23. 23. Market-based socialization: values that support growth
  24. 24. The alternative? A development- oriented economy + robust democracy
  25. 25. Circular economy
  26. 26. Bounded by social norms / laws and ecosystem limits
  27. 27. Resilient, distributed structure
  28. 28. The role of Architecture?
  29. 29. Five ideas: 1. Architecture & radical efficiency 2. Architecture & democratic infrastructure 3. Architecture & sustainable materials 4. Architecture & regenerative metabolisms 5. Architecture & social capital
  30. 30. 1. Architecture and radical efficiency
  31. 31. By 2060, global building floor area will double.
  32. 32. Why efficiency is so important … Source: GEA, 2012: Global Energy Assessment – Toward a Sustainable Future, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK and New York, NY
  33. 33. Iowa Nest Residence 2013-2018 | Sterner Design
  34. 34. Path toward Net Zero Energy
  35. 35. Temperature & relative humidity, January – April 2018
  36. 36. Temperature & relative humidity, December 2017 – January 2018 Delta of 70 F
  37. 37. Copyright © 2018 Sterner Design, LLC MORE INFO @ WWW.IOWANEST.COM
  38. 38. Northside Passive House 2018-2019 | Sol Design + Consulting
  39. 39. Diagram of Forces Engage the corner Maximize flexibility -  Yard -  Garage -  Accessory unit Tall, narrow form (context) Compact form (efficiency & cost) Solar exposure + shading PV-ready roof
  40. 40. Fairwood Commons 2019 | Sol Design + Consulting | Woda, Inc.
  41. 41. Cincinnati 2030 District 2018 | Working Group Member
  42. 42. Buildings pledge to reduce: 50% by 2030
  43. 43. 2. Architecture and democratic infrastructure
  44. 44. Source: Cuffe, Paul; Keane, Andrew (2017). "Visualizing the Electrical Structure of Power Systems". IEEE Systems Journal. 11 (3): 1810–1821
  45. 45. Source: https://phys.org/news/2012-09-solar-energy-stabilise-power-grid.html
  46. 46. Source: Pew Charitable Trust, “Microgrids in the Evolving Power System,” February 2016
  47. 47. Innisfil, Ontario 2009 | William McDonough + Partners
  48. 48. 3. Architecture and sustainable materials
  49. 49. •  Asbestos •  Cadmium •  Chlorinated polyethylene and chlorosulfonated polyethylene •  Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) •  Chloroprene (neoprene) •  Formaldehyde (added) •  Halogenated flame retardants •  Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) •  Lead (added) •  Mercury •  Petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides •  Phthalates •  Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) •  Wood treatments containing creosote, arsenic, or pentachlorophenol
  50. 50. Meadow Farm 2012 | William McDonough + Partners
  51. 51. Over-the-Rhine Infill Design Competition 2018 | Sol Design + Consulting
  52. 52. What’s the optimal shading for the west façade?
  53. 53. contextOption3property outlinecontextOption2property outline
  54. 54. •  Embodied Solidarity? Percent made by cooperative / social enterprises •  Embodied Centralization? Extent to which production requires large-scale investments •  Embodied Capital Bias? Percent of material’s cost tied up in capital or energy (vs labor)
  55. 55. 4. Architecture and regenerative metabolisms
  56. 56. Cincinnati Park Comfort Stations 2008 | Sterner Design
  57. 57. Living City Design Competition 2011 | Sterner Design and Rollerhaus
  58. 58. 5. Architecture and social capital
  59. 59. Ecovillage vs Suburbia 2007 | Graduate Research, University of Cincinnati
  60. 60. Apple Street Market 2019 | NEST & ASM
  61. 61. Sustainability is systemic.
  62. 62. “Social systems are just as non-linear as biological systems. … There are thresholds in human behavior, times when cultural evolution moves unexpectedly rapidly. … When the time is ripe, society can be transformed virtually overnight.” Paul Ehrlich

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