There is no such thing as “sustainable architecture.” Sustainability is the result of complex interactions between diverse ecological systems; as such, sustainable architecture cannot exist as a single entity.
By transforming architecture as a node along an energetic path into a hub from which multiple energy streams flow to and from, individual elements form interdependent relationships, blurring the line between architecture and infrastructure.
The goal of this thesis is to understand the carrying capacity of ecological systems and to propose interdependent methods in which the built environment can not only function within the limits of those systems, but to complement and expand those limits as well. As the agency of water carves stone, the agency of interdependency gives form to buildings, organizes program, and manages resources. If singularity is the reason that architecture cannot be sustainable, then what is an appropriate scale and level of systemic complexity with which to articulate a relevant unit of sustainability?
This project engages the design of the built environment simultaneously at the architectural and urban scales. As an energetic hub, individual architectural forms and programs will be interdependently linked; Wastes are redefined as surpluses and energy sources such as heat, coolth, water, or other biological and technological nutrients will be captured, transformed, and redistributed, aggregating towards the regional scale and creating an urban metabolism that functionally reflects processes found in ecological cycles. The power plant, rather than residing outside the limits of the city, becomes the city.