Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture



Major Professor

Scott Wall

Committee Members

Barbara Klinkhammer, C. A. Debelius


This topic will involve an analysis of architecture of the past to reveal how sustainable design techniques were dependent on the natural environment of a specific climate region. This analysis of ancient building strategies will examine similar climate areas to the Southeast United States and combined the information with modern 'green' technologies. The final result being a building whose expression reflects a new regional vernacular. Before the age of electric heating and cooling systems and thermal insulation, buildings were designed to take advantage of their natural surroundings. In fact, these structures depended on its natural surroundings and this dependence informed the architectural expression. Designers of the past had to create buildings that addressed their climate zone or else survival through a harsh winter or an extremely hot summer might not be possible. In addition, commercial industries of the past were dependent on specific climate conditions which in turn began to define the region's character. Today, due to mechanically conditioned spaces and other social factors, buildings designs have become independent from their natural environment and forgotten many of the important 'green' building techniques of the past. New environmental problems exist today which have increased the demand for sustainable building and lead to the invention of 'green' technologies such as green roofs, solar panels, and water collection and storage systems. Modern architects should use these technologies in their design schemes to demonstrate a return to a dependency on the natural environment.

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