Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture



Major Professor

Jon P Coddington

Committee Members

Tracy Moir-McClean, J. Stroud Watson


This thesis proposes that the ideal place for institutions of environmental learning is between the neighborhood and the city. Through the shaping of urban space, the architect's task is to discover how the built environment can be ecologically conscientious while encouraging environmental stewardship The need for shelter and its diversity are based on human experience, imagination and climatic effects that are specific to place Through the design of a program for a Center for Sustainable Education and Living the thesis explores the tectonic relationship between ephemeral architecture and the permanent conditions of architecture as they respond to natural and human forces that shape the built environment and affirm a sense of place.

Architecture is an art form that allows visual, tactile and emotive experiences. Through tectonic expression, the architect is able to reconcile both natural processes and human purpose. Tectonics can be defined as the science or art by which implements, vessels, dwellings or other edifices are constructed both agreeably to the end for which they are designed and in conformity with artistic sentiments and ideas. These processes, in addition to natural land patterns, provide the basis for the shaping of the built environment. Responses to natural and human forces are potential form generators of edifice and place. Building design and placement as a response to site and contextual conditions have potential to affirm a sense of place while demonstrating solutions for local policies of environmental responsibility. Natural as well as man-made patterns of the site and surrounding neighborhood not only inform placement of human intervention but also activities that can be accommodated.

By focusing on urban development, the thesis explores opportunities for community sustainability through reclamation of abandoned urban space, social cooperation and affirmation of place. Reclamation and affirmation of place helps revitalize the city by making it more attractive as well as productive for both residents and visitorsSocial cooperation as proposed by the thesis presents new patterns of urban living that repair, enhance and sustain the city in order to create a new urban form and image. The thesis investigation explores design issues pertaining to patterns: urban, structural adaptability, and edification. In addition, the proposed thesis investigates sustainable design based on local conditions of place as opposed to more regional or global scopes.

Chattanooga, Tennessee has been selected as the urban site for this thesisThe design investigation provides a means of engaging, informing and inspiring the citizens of Chattanooga to become stewards of their environment. In addition, the design investigation proposes diverse spatial opportunities for local responses to environmental responsibility through design, demonstration, discussion, education and observation of the existing urban context. An investigation of urban patterns both existing and potential is explored as a means to integrate the proposed design into the existing urban infrastructure and context of the neighborhood. The design investigation proposes activities that allow social gathering, participation, demonstration, experimentation and production Each proposed activity generates a spatial condition that provides a comprehensive experience to affirm a sense of place while teaching local practices of environmental stewardship through adaptation of new living patterns. Each proposed activity will generate a spatial condition that provides a comprehensive experience to affirm a sense of place while teaching local practices of environmental stewardship through adaptation of new living patterns.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."