Holistic ecological design: Sustainable building practices striving to promote positive engagement with the environment

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Todorov, Erik Tzvetomir Tihomir
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Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Patel, Yusef
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Auranga (Auckland, N.Z.)
West Drury (Auckland, N.Z.)
Auckland (N.Z.)
housing in Auckland
housing design
sustainable architecture
modular housing
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Todorov, E. T. T. (2021). Holistic ecological design: Sustainable building practices striving to promote positive engagement with the environment. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand. https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5542
RESEARCH QUESTION How can urban housing development employ holistic ecological design techniques to positively engage with the environment and enhance sustainable building practices? ABSTRACT Humans cannot live without impacting the environment, but this should not stop designers from creating sustainable buildings. Urban developments are moving further away from nature, with little to no integration with the biosphere, separating humans from the living world day by day. Cities are never-ending destructive developments that are constantly changing and growing. These built environments treat the planet as a pit of endless resources by unsustainably consuming natural and non-renewable resources and then simply throwing them away. The research aims to produce a design with minimal environmental impact and thoughtful integration into the biosphere through a holistic ecological design. Literature, precedents, site and life-cycle reviews will be used to inform the design decisions throughout the project, with embodied carbon energy research backing up the concepts and design decisions applied within the project. The scope of the project is focused on the construction methods of buildings. There are many elements to sustainability, with ecological design being one of the many theories used to achieve it. Designing passive and self-sufficient homes are common within the current solutions to creating sustainable buildings with the structural system commonly overlooked within sustainable design. Linear economy buildings cannot continue to be designed and developed as they produce large amounts of waste and negatively impact the environment through a lack of life-cycle considerations, producing large amounts of waste and raw materials that end up in landfills to be lost forever. The project has focused on challenging ways in which Architecture can promote sustainable building practices, showcasing a modular and adaptable building that allows for disassembly and reuse of the materials used to construct it. However, sustainable design cannot be broken into singular elements; in order to achieve a fully sustainable design, it needs to consider every element as a whole. The whole infrastructure of the building, its life-cycle and how people occupy it all play large roles in the impacts a building have on the environment. The structure of a building is simply one piece of the puzzle.
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