Ilia Yazdanpanah


Toward a Resilient Architecture

Advised by Eric Höweler and Holly Samuelson

Today, sustainability is recognized as a technical problem and is relegated to engineers. However, the issue of environment and design are so interdependent that one can shape the other. Therefore, architects need to get back into the discussion to reclaim the issues of environment and ecology as inevitable parts of design. This separation of art from science has its roots in the 17th century with the debates between Perrault and Blondel, which eventually turned into the great split between architects and engineers in the 18th century. I believe these two topics (environment and architecture) can reconcile and fall into one category of design in which one architect can navigate both of them at once. My project-based thesis, which is focusing on rethinking residential design rules of thumb, states how sustainability as a tool can update conventional design rules of thumb by which architects designed houses. Therefore, I propose using computational simulation methods to create an updated chart suggesting vernacular rules of thumb such as building proportion, window to wall ratio, shading, skylights, facade, and volume, which all vary latitude by latitude. I will then pick up one location for a final project (a house) on which I will apply my findings. The final product will not only be an extensive example of a sustainable and vernacular design, but it will also preemptively enter into the discourse of architecture as a discipline. The thesis, which is curiously named Toward a Resilient Architecture, is an attempt to update the conventional design thinking and eventually to show how “a house is a sustainable machine for living in.”