Project Update

The progress I have made towards my final project has been consolidating and specifying my ideas. I realized during my research that I was straying further and further from my main interest, design, and I wanted to refocus on how design can reduce the cognitive load of being sustainable. The most pertinent idea behind this project is to use nanotechnology to become more sustainable while being able to work a nine to five job. 


    Upon my initial research I realized I was running into major conflicts in materials versus modularity versus sustainability. I realized most of my focus was on the materialism of items and the overall structure of the home. I decided to take a step back at the purpose of a house at its very basics and my initial conceptualizations of what a home is. A house is supposed to provide one of the essential needs of survival, shelter and security. Our homes these days are constructed the way they are out of reliability and convenience. Essentially, I must compare the most reliable, eco friendly, DIYbio materials.  Furthermore we have defined spaces, or borders, that make us feel more secure in our environment. I wish to understand the social borders of our private lives and how borders expand beyond the means of ourselves. Most importantly how we can use walls in our homes to be more sustainable and specifically the materials that define them. 


    In our current state of life personal borders are more important than ever as well as our need to be self sufficient. Our personal borders are even more important outside our homes but also our personal borders need to be even more defined inside our home. When you're living a busy life it is easy to slip into routine so I wish to use design to reduce the cognitive load of defining these sustainable borders. After all, the main purpose of design, especially in today's society, is convenience and reducing the cognitive load on the individual. Overall the idea is to make sustainability convenient and to specifically hone that on the materials we use to construct our personal borders. The final product will be a book like compilation of my research and designs, as well as an interview from someone who has recently researched the relationship between borders and architecture at both a large and small scale.


Some of the most interesting projects I have found in my research thus far include, 3D printed homes and green walls. Rael San Fratello explores the abilities of 3D printing, specifically at a large scale using mud. The mud like homes have similar properties to that of adobe homes, having incredible insulation making them more energy efficient. Even more importantly, the owner would have the ability to be self-sustaining using the mud under their feet and the 3D printer to do repairs. 


Another use for walls is to apply greenery, which has become very popular in recent years. Many trendy restaurants will put up a green wall to seem more inviting, however they could have more use in a home. By growing plants vertically like so you can make a circulatory system, reducing waste as well as saving space. A similar project that applies this was created by UCLA’s Architecture and Urban Design program. They created a vertical system for plants, specifically succulents, that uses and recycles water in a convenient and concise way. This project is in response to “Southern California’s precarious relationship to water and lack of disaster preparedness”, essentially providing a self-sufficient system for every day families. 


I will continue to research the importance of our personal and societal borders and how we can use sustainable materials to better define these borders, as well as the benefit of design to highlight the convenience of being self sustaining.