Environmental Design and Architectural Expression: Towards an Inclusive Approach to Architectural Form Generation

By Michael McGlynn.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The recognition of the building sector’s significant contribution to global climate change is leading many practitioners and educators toward low energy, net zero energy, and carbon neutral building approaches with a concomitant focus on quantitative methodologies as a means to validate claims of effectiveness. The quantitative nature of these approaches, though, only serves to perpetuate the divide between environmental design and architectural expression. Susannah Hagan’s “levels of engagement with the environmental agenda”, “symbiosis”, “differentiation”, and “visibility”, provide the potential for bridging this divide by placing an equal emphasis on form as well as operation. I apply Hagan’s criteria to Pugh+Scarpa Architects’ Colorado Court (Santa Monica, CA, USA), a low energy building, to determine the usefulness and limitations of Hagan’s criteria and situate low energy building within the broader context of sustainable architecture. Following this analysis, I propose an architectural form generation framework intended to build on the strengths of Hagan’s criteria while addressing the shortcomings. Like Hagan’s criteria, this inclusive framework overcomes the limitations of architectural form generated by an overemphasis on energy concerns, but extends Hagan’s criteria to more adequately address social concerns and revises Hagan’s process by modeling it after the iterative nature of the design process itself.

Keywords: Sustainable Architecture, Environmental Aesthetics, Architectural Form, Low Energy Building

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.281-296. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 5.350MB).

Michael McGlynn

Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA

Michael McGlynn, RA, LEED AP, is an assistant professor of architecture at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS.


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