F&ES 606b/ARCH 2229 / 2019-2020

Regenerative Building - Horse Island

Credits: 3

Spring 2020: W, 4:00-5:50, ARCH - TBD

The Regenerative Building seminar is the first of a two-stage curricular sequence that culminates in the design and construction of a new Coastal Research Station for the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Horse Island off the coast of Branford, CT during the summer of 2020. Working as part of an interdisciplinary team of graduate students and faculty, consultants, university administrators and industrial partners, participants will explore concepts, methods, and tools of regenerative, low carbon building design and construction, creating the foundational technical research, the conceptual framework, and the planning and logistical groundwork for the subsequent project phases of design development (May-June, 2020) and component fabrication and installation (July-September, 2020.)
The seminar explores design and building techniques that seek to reduce environmental impacts across the building lifecycle, promoting metabolic, non-mechanistic approaches to the production of the built environment. By engaging renewable material supply chains and energy systems, by tapping industrial waste streams as sources of raw material, by detailing building assemblies for durability, reparability and, ultimately, ease of disassembly, regenerative techniques in building attempt avoid the conventions of our current linear, extractive systems of resource consumption and the extensive, often unseen ecological impacts created by the building sector. A sequence of lectures and associated research questions challenge students from the disciplines of design and environmental management to posit and test means to mitigate the significant ecological and climatic impacts of those building sector activities using the ecologically sensitive site of Horse Island and the complex logistics of building there as an incubator of ideas and test case for their implementation. The seminar entails an interdisciplinary process of fact-finding and approach-crafting resulting in the early stages of design in which students study and assess the following topics:
• the ecological vulnerabilities of the building site and its immediate environs;
• the potential utility of ecosystem services of both the site and the region;
• the feasibility of engaging regional consumer and industrial waste-streams for material reuse (as well as manufactured post-consumer products) in order to supplant the consumption of materials and products drawn from non-renewable sources;
• the mitigation of carbon emissions and the management of carbon storages through potential synergies in regional silviculture and the implementation of timber- and other bio-based structural assemblies;
• regional climatic forces as well as the immediate environmental and physical conditions of the site and construction methods, building assemblies, and energy systems that respond to and optimize those conditions.
• techniques of building design for disassembly in order to attain an “end-of-waste” status for the building at the end of its useful life.

The results of these research inquiries will shape the criteria for the design development (phase 2) and the materials, means, and methods of construction (phase 3) of the Horse Island Research Station