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Environmental Science / Environmental Design

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Technical Issues in Architectural Engineering II

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.594.1 - 11.594.12



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Paper Authors


Christopher Jarrett Georgia Institute of Technology

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Chris Jarrett is Associate Director and Associate Professor of the Architecture Program at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He teaches courses on architecture and ecology, eco-tectonics, and graduate design studios addressing a range of contemporary green topics.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Environmental Science / Environmental Design


Environmental science has formed the central part of ecological discourse in architecture. It has been the primary force behind the work of various leaders in the ecological design community [1]. Gravity and the second law of thermodynamics set the stage for disseminating a vast array of scientific principles. Energy is plotted. Solar angles are graphed. Thermal flows are mapped. These science-based principles are fundamental to producing new green technologies and various shades of green in the plans and sections of our buildings [2]. And the science behind the environment continues to prosper. The challenge in architectural education however has been the development of more inclusive, creative, even conflictive understandings of ecology and environmental design that expand beyond the germane integration of environmental science principles and new green technologies.

This paper represents an extension of work in relation to a graduate level design studio recently taught at Georgia Tech with the aim of presenting more complex definitions and uses of ecology in architectural practice as a complement to the science behind the environment. Ultimately, the ideas and strategies described here hold potential for new forms of relationship between people, place, material and earth. The paper is organized into two parts. The first part identifies three major concerns: 1) the current predicament of peak global oil production; 2) the re-occurring problems associated with the mind-set separation of culture and nature; and 3) the untapped potential between ecology, creativity, and architecture. The second part places these concerns in practice, in the context of three green housing proposals located at Hulsey Yards, a 35-acre in- town, industrial urban site south of downtown Atlanta that is strategically placed along the Belt Line Atlanta Project, a 22-mile inner-city light rail loop and greenway currently the focus of a multi-million dollar study by the Georgia Department of Transportation [3].

PART ONE: Identifying Concerns

Oil-Centered Development The U.S. faces an epochal predicament: global oil production will peak within the next couple of years, if in fact it hasn’t already peaked. According Kenneth S. Deffeyes, oil production peaked exactly on December 16, 2005, when cumulative production exceeded 1.0065 trillion barrels of oil [4]. Regardless of when oil production peaked or about to peak, this reality is especially significant because the U.S. consumes 19 of 75 million barrels of world oil produced every day, or 25.4% of total production, and because 90% of U.S. transportation energy comes from oil [5].

But at this very moment, the 100-year reign of crude oil is over, and following, the unsustainable economic and physical growth that it nurtured. By any measure of rational planning or public policy-making, this predicament is significant. The expansive, rapid and unchecked growth in the U.S. during the last 25 years, built on a seemingly endless supply of cheap oil, has produced

Jarrett, C. (2006, June), Environmental Science / Environmental Design Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1408

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