04 September 2008

Trying to be "useful"

This is another one of those days where I'm trying to make a big decision, and I have this blog, and so I'd like people's input.

I've said all along that the reason I went back to graduate school was to improve my skill set in order to become a better environmental designer, and ultimately, to do something useful with my thesis.

At this point, I'm trying to decide where exactly that thesis is going to go. I've been researching web sites, including the Department of Energy's site, and I think what is missing is a greater understanding by homeowners of how architecture itself can improve their houses. There is already a web site that details how homeowners can reduce their energy using mechanical means, and yield a cost savings, and it's here. It was also put together by a team of like, 25 people over a number of years, and I don't have those kind of resources! But I think what I CAN bring to the table is a web learning tool that presents simple design options to people who could remodel their homes; something that diagrams how architectural elements could help people reduce energy in their part of the country ... something that gives them tangible solutions for doing their part to reduce global warming.

So ... what do you think? It is a little "pie in the sky" but I see a void - I don't think anyone else has done something that really explains the why part of architecture to the public. Please leave comments or suggestions below!

6 comments:

treekiller said...

emK-
Figure out what sorts of projects you wish to pursue post-graduation, and let that vision/goal guide the development of your thesis...

emKem said...

That's funny, because that's exactly what one of my committee members said! I'm interested in pursuing sustainable architecture, specifically residential, in some form or another after graduation, so I think I'm on the right track....

Sarah said...

I think that could actually be VERY useful, actually. Not to make it sound lowly, but I think the general public would find it very useful - very HGTV. I'm not saying that in a bad way, please understand that. I know my mom wants me to design her a 'green' home, and I come up short when trying to explain why it should be on stilts, or the overhangs, ect. An easy to navigate site, that can be specific to region would be wonderful for her.

emKem said...

Sarah- That is EXACTLY what I was thinking. I actually really like it when I hear about people's family members who could benefit by learning more about architecture in their own homes. So thanks! :o)

Donna said...

Actually Sarah's HGTV comment is spot on. I just spent the weekend with my mother in law here, and she watches HGTV religiously. If a tool for people of her interest and knowledge level was available, it would be highly utilized I am sure.

mad architect said...

I could see this being a very useful thesis project, with ample use outside of academia. Projects like that are always great to set a trajectory for one's professional ambitions. I believe too that it can be useful for not just homeowners but architects alike.

A questions; is the outlook to be entirely web-based? Will it just be for renovations, or will it broaden the scope for new build, multi-user residences, mixed use...

notwithstanding any of those questions I look forward to seeing how this develops