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de houwer michiel


CONTENT personal statement resume architecture work studio work thesis


I am Michiel De Houwer, a 25-year-old architect. I grew up in a village called Averbode, located in the Flemish part of Belgium. Ever since I can remember, I have been passionate about architecture. As a little boy, I would walk around my neighborhood to find construction sites and watch houses rising up from the ground. When I started my architecture degree, I did not have much knowledge of how architects design buildings. However, I found it important to have my own opinions of architecture. I discovered my own personality and sense of style during my first years of architecture school. While in architecture school, I traveled regularly to the United States during my holidays because of strong ties I developed there. This was a big influence on my work. It caused me to develop my sense of style based on buildings I studied in American cities such as New York, Chicago and Washington, DC. There is a big difference between the culture I grew up in and the culture of the American cities I have visited. I was raised as a village kid. I had never been to any big cities before starting architecture school, my parents never liked cities, and I grew with their negative view of cities. To them, it is impossible to live a good life in a city among people with the same values as those in rural areas. Spending so much time in American cities changed my view of cities completely. Since I experienced city life, I started seeing great value and opportunities rural areas do not have.

People in large American cities have a completely different lifestyle than I ever experienced. Large cities are much more lively – people go out more to restaurants for dinner and cook less at home, people enjoy nightlife, are more fashionable and much more “out and about” than in rural areas. I also became familiar with different types of housing through my travels. Apartments can be livable in different styles like colonial and ranch. I had always thought that newer is better, but now I see the importance of tradition and think the old should be respected, but improved upon. This philosophy has resulted in my interest in adaptive reuse. In my eyes, adaptive reuse will form the basis of the future of architecture. Urbanism has formed an important part of my education and served as an inspiration for my master’s thesis, which questions how we can retrofit suburban landscapes using transportation strategies. The relationship between mobility, liveable cities, urbanism, and architecture has become my passion. I am still developing as an architect, but because of the different environments in which I have been spending my time and my studies, I am finding my personality.

- Michiel De Houwer

PERSONAL STATEMENT


Michiel De Houwer

Info 8021 Georgia Ave., Apt. 709 Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA June 22, 1993 +1 (202) 425-5659 dehouwer.michiel@yahoo.com

Social https://be.linkedin.com/in/ michieldehouwer dehouwermichiel https://www.artstation.com/ midehow https://issuu.com/midehow

RESUME


Skills

Education

Vectorworks Revit AutoCAD SketchUp V-Ray Photoshop InDesign Illustrator Rhinoceros Grasshoper ArchiCAD Word Excel PowerPoint

University of Hasselt

Design Urban Design Teamwork Research

Hasselt|Belgium Master of Architecture (June 2018) Activities/Accomplishments: - Certificate, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (2017) - Student council member Thesis| A New Future For The Suburban Landscape

University of Hasselt

Hasselt|Belgium Bachelor of Architecture (June 2016) Paper| Insulation in Suburban Chicago Homes

Work Experience AIA|DC Urban Design Committee

Washington|D.C.

Member (July 2018 - Present)

- Active member of the Urban Design Committee - Part of the organizing team of the Urban Design Committee Design Competition (Fall 2018)

Publications

Set-Office

Future Heritage | Genk: The Young City

- Designed competition-winning library and town hall renovation in Kruibeke, Belgium - Rendered projects using V-Ray, Photoshop - Drafted plans and diagrams for projects using Vectorworks, AutoCAD, SketchUp

The City For Youth C+S Architects & UHasselt (2018) Contributing author

References Dr. Els Hannes Administrative Director, UHasselt els.hannes@uhasselt.be +32 11 292106 Prof.arch. Jo Berben Managing Director, a2o architecten Professor University of Hasselt Jo.Berben@a2o.be +32 478 95 94 97

JGMA

Chicago|Illinois

Architecture Intern (July 2016 - September 2016) - Worked alongside architects to design projects and create site models using AutoCAD, SketchUp, Revit - Provided original ideas that were implemented in final project designs - Participated in meetings with clients, voicing advice on adaptive reuse - Designed graphics manual for JGMA employees using Revit, Illustrator, InDesign

Languages

Prof.arch. Maria Alessandra Segantini Managing Director, C+S Architects Professor University of Hasselt ale@cipiuesse.it +39 348 7298315

Dutch

Filip Cleynen Managing Director, Set-Office fc@set-office.com +32 486 95 05 92

Volunteer Experience

Juan Gabriel Moreno President, JGMA juan@jgma.com +1 (773) 294-1056

Antwerp|Belgium

Architecture Intern (September 2015 - June 2018)

Native proficiency

English

Full professional proficiency

French

Limted working proficiency

German

Elementary proficiency

University of Hasselt

Hasselt|Belgium

Flemish Architecture Institute

Leuven|Belgium

Buddy Program (September 2015 - June 2018) - providing support to international students Architectural Guide (October 2013) - guiding visitors at the Flemish Day of Architecture

YOUCA vzw

Diest|Belgium

Student Volunteer (October 2010) - volunteer at poverty alleviation program

Youth Music Band

Testelt|Belgium

Monitor (February 2008 - September 2012) - monitoring children at band camp

RESUME


KRUIBEKE CC/LIBRARY WINNING COMPETITION Kruibeke|Belgium

Set Office The objective for this project was to build a community center and a library for the municipality of Kruibeke, near Antwerp. The added program needed to work together with the front- and back-office function of the existing rear building. We proposed a centralized entrance for the different parts with a public square in front of the city hall. The community center consists of a large hall with a capacity of 150 people, combined with a lobby. The library is situated on the first level and is conceived as a modern meeting space where lectures, workshops, and events can take place. The library focuses on both online and offline access. There is a corner for children, a cafĂŠ, and a reading area. Technically, the newly built volume will be optimized according to state-of-theart HVAC requirements. The south facing facade will be provided with structural sunscreens giving the building a vertical rhythm and a playful character.

Designed by Michiel De Houwer, Filip Cleynen, and Nele Mortelmans

ARCHITECTURAL WORK Set Office


ARCHITECTURAL WORK

Set Office


ARCHITECTURAL WORK Set Office

current floor plan


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1 2 3 4 5 6

new floor plan

ARCHITECTURAL WORK

Set Office


ARCHITECTURAL WORK Set Office


ARCHITECTURAL WORK

Set Office


PILSEN MURAL PARK Chicago|Illinois

JGMA Located in the heart of Pilsen, two abandoned buildings share a large green backyard that sits adjacent to what will be the neighborhood’s Paseo trail. JGMA was challenged to transform this block into a new creative office campus. Its position relative to the Paseo presents opportunities for connection and community engagement, making this campus not only for the private entities that will occupy it, but a public plaza for the neighborhood. The design strives to connect the buildings to create a campus feel, which is achieved using an interconnected linear geometry that wraps up and over the building. This language is created through pervious pavers, planters, green walls and weathering steel that gives the building a new identity. Rather than maintaining each building’s separate street side entry, the new design strategically locates the entries to both buildings inside the new plaza, linking them internally and encouraging people to process through the plaza before entering. Within the plaza, an integrated rail system allows planters and murals to slide north to south, creating small outdoor office spaces or large public gathering spaces for farmers markets or outdoor movies. Local artists will be commissioned to create the murals, giving the plaza a sense of place and furthering the plaza’s mission of collaboration and community engagement.

Designed by JGMA architects; contributions in design process by Michiel De Houwer

ARCHITECTURAL WORK JGMA


ARCHITECTURAL WORK

JGMA


ARCHITECTURAL WORK JGMA


ground floor

ARCHITECTURAL WORK

JGMA


BI-NODE

THE BICYCLE TRANSIT CONNECTION Thesis| A New Future For The Suburban Landscape Year| 2017 - 2018 Advisors| Prof.arch. Maria Segantini ▪ Prof.arch. Jo Berben ▪ Arch. Peggy Winkels ▪ dr.arch. Bart Janssens ▪ Arch. Barbara Roosen

We live in a society where we mostly use cars to get around. 25% of the total CO2 emissions worldwide is the result of transportation. My thesis explores how mobility strategies can play a major role in making neighborhoods more sustainable and multifunctional. In the future, when we have an environment where we run out of open space and where our existing infrastructure network gets more saturated, we will have to look for alternative transportation solutions. Instead of having the habit of driving from point A to B, we can bike (partly) to our destination. The idea is that a building, a new bridge crossing the canal, would become an infrastructure “node”, which functions as a transit center. People can park their car here or reach it by public transportation, and continue their trip to the center of Hasselt (BE). Having the most busy vehicle traffic in Limburg, the Kempische Steenweg serves as the right location for the transit center, in this way it will reduce the amount of cars in the city center. The bridge is not just a transit center, but a new public space and identity for the neighborhoods of both sides. This node connects Hasselt and the neighborhoods north of the canal physically and visibly as a park. The building also houses a cycling museum, a learning center, a bike café for people passing by, a bike store, and BMX park. It is a place where biking stands in the middle by connecting the transit center, the existing cycling networks, and different neighborhoods with each other.

STUDIO WORK

studio new economies


Q | How to retrofit a neighborhood with mobility strategies?

STUDIO WORK

studio new economies


STUDIO WORK

studio new economies

Hasselt | Belgium


most congested road in region

15,000 daily

bicyling network

2,100,000a year (2017)

Q | How to reduce the vehicular traffic out of the city and create a bike- and pedestrian-friendly connection between two neighborhoods divided by a canal? problem statement

STUDIO WORK

studio new economies


connecting the different neighborhoods

different ways of transportation on both sides of canal

current situation canal neighborhood

future canal neighborhood

connecting the bicycle networks

new identity for the north neighborhood

STUDIO WORK

studio new economies

urban planning concepts


the different circulation opportunities

the different programmatic zones

the different facades

the park and the public square

building concepts

STUDIO WORK

studio new economies


STUDIO WORK

studio new economies

master plan


structure

STUDIO WORK

studio new economies


STUDIO WORK

studio new economies

program


STUDIO WORK

studio new economies


STUDIO WORK

studio new economies

existing site plan


future site plan

STUDIO WORK

studio new economies


fourth floor

third floor

STUDIO WORK

studio new economies

floor plans


floor plans

STUDIO WORK

studio new economies


second floor

ground floor

STUDIO WORK

studio new economies

floor plans


floor plans

STUDIO WORK

studio new economies


STUDIO WORK

studio new economies


section

STUDIO WORK

studio new economies


STUDIO WORK

studio new economies


STUDIO WORK

studio new economies


THE EMBRACED TEMPLE

THE FUTURE OF MR. WHALE Year| 2017 Advisors| Prof.arch. Jo Berben â–Ş Arch. Maria Leus â–Ş Prof.dr.ir.arch. Oswald Devisch In Vietnam, there are many folk religions in which the Vietnamese worship many gods. One of those gods is Mr. Whale. The fishermen believe Mr. Whale protects them when they are fishing on the open ocean and brings them back home safely. Mr. Whale is worshipped in a temple near the harbor where the bones of a whale are held in a mausoleum connected to the temple. This makes the temple very important for the local fisher community. When the ocean water rises in the future, the temple will be threatened. This is the reason why my design is a structure that goes around the temple, so that the original temple will be protected. A dike connected to the building protects the rest of city from the rising water level and functions as a public square. The idea is to protect different buildings in the same manner and connect them all by this dike. The mausoleum was outdated. It deserved a better space, so it has been moved into the water to bring the whale as close as possible to the open ocean. By doing this, a pier-like structure was created to protect the building. The building contains a museum about the Vietnamese folk religion and has a Zen garden on the roof, which is connected to the public square. People can visit the temple, and from there they can reach the mausoleum by going through the museum, garden or gallery. People can walk to the end of the pier, where the mausoleum is located, as well as a watchtower overlooking the city.

STUDIO WORK studio Vietnam


Q | How to deal with the strong growing population in Can Gio and the threat of rising water?

STUDIO WORK

studio - Vietnam


STUDIO WORK studio Vietnam

Can Thanh | Can Gio | Vietnam


temple and mausoleum

site analysis

festivity shed

market

STUDIO WORK

studio - Vietnam


CURRENT SITUATION

Vietnamese temple and mausoleum.

FIRST STEP

SECOND STEP

THIRD STEP

FOURTH STEP

The bones of the whale are very important for the local people, but the mausoleum is very small and outdated. For this reason a new mausoleum should be created. The whale is the protector of the sea and should be as close as possible to the water.

Adding new functions, like a reflection space, where people of all religions can find peace and meditate. But also other functions like a museum about the religion and culture of Can Gio and a lighthouse that also functions as a watch tower.

STUDIO WORK studio Vietnam

Relocating the festivity shed is an important step. The shed currently blocks the connection with the water and is underused. The shed can become part of the building and can be used for more things than the one festivity it is used for now.

The final step is creating a public park around the new program. This public park will function as a zen garden and is a reflection to the vegetation on the piers in the rest of the landscape.

concept drawing


program | diagrams

STUDIO WORK

studio - Vietnam


STUDIO WORK studio Vietnam

site plan


ground floor

floor plans

second floor

STUDIO WORK

studio - Vietnam


section one

elevation

section three

STUDIO WORK studio Vietnam

sections | elevation


section two

STUDIO WORK

studio - Vietnam


STUDIO WORK studio Vietnam


The museums spaces are inspired by the traditional Vietnamese temple floor plans.

STUDIO WORK

studio - Vietnam


STUDIO WORK studio Vietnam


STUDIO WORK

studio - Vietnam


THE STIEMER RING

PURIFYING THE LANDSCAPE Year| 2017 - 2018 Advisors| Prof.arch. Maria Segantini â–Ş Arch. Jan Vanweert The Stiemer Ring is an architectural intervention in a landscape that is polluted and fragmented due to industrialization and pollution. The main goal of this project is to purify the ecosystem. By cleaning the Stiemer creek, the whole landscape can be revitalized, and the biodiversity will be restored. In this way, the habitat becomes attractive for scientific and recreational purposes. The Stiemer Ring also acts as a junction: the fragmented and unappreciated landscape is reconnected to the adjacent areas. Genk has many beautiful bicycle routes, and now this area can become a part of it too. The laboratory is a field station with facilities for research projects, meetings, and small educational programs. The research touches topics like ecology, pollution, biodiversity, and restoration. Everything is especially focused on the water. The laboratory has easy access to the different ponds and other areas of interest to collect samples and do tests. Two ponds are necessary to purify the water. The third pond is the proof of how clean the water is. It is designed as an outdoor swimming pool where people can enjoy the sensation of a clean ecosystem. When coming to the Stiemer Ring, you get an overview of the whole process of the water purification. The Ring is designed to understand the process while walking through it. When going to the swimming pond, you first walk around the cleaning pond. Secondly, the changing rooms are oriented to direct you to the swimming area. After putting on a bathing suit, the architecture invites you to descend to the platform or pier and either enjoy the view and atmosphere or to dive into the freshly purified water. Since the Stiemer Ring is a connection to the bicycle routes, it is a perfect place to establish a bike rental and repair shop. The building is also the infrastructure. While approaching the Ring, you are directed to easily to your destination, but not without enjoying the nature and landscape. The architecture is functional, but also tempts you to discover what is happening under the infrastructure, between the ponds. The slope is a seamless connection between the upper and lower ring. On the lower ring, you can wander between the lab, the bike shop and the swimming area, while enjoying the landscape. You can finish by getting a drink in the bar and sitting down to enjoy the landscape some more.

STUDIO WORK

studio Kolenspoor


Q | How to connect the different neighborhoods in a fragmented landscape?

STUDIO WORK

studio Kolenspoor


STUDIO WORK

studio Kolenspoor

Genk | Belgium


site plan

STUDIO WORK

studio Kolenspoor


THE PRODUCTIVE RIVER VALLEY

THE MINING DEVICE

THE TRANSPORTATION CORRIDOR

THE SEWER SYSTEM

Originally the Stiemer played a central role as a productive river valley. It was the sole oasis of resource in an elsewhere arid desert of heath. The valley concentrated in its upper part the few settlements and agricultural activities, helped by rudimentary mills, dams and irrigation systems. In the central part, transversal retention dikes were placed from the 13th century to make ponds as water reservoirs

The exportation of the produced coal requires massive transportation infrastructures. In a first phase, it motivates the completion in 1930 of the Albert Canal. The canal links the mines to the port of Antwerp and the metallurgical industry in the Meuse basin. The canal creates a strong physical barrier. Together with the railway loop junction (Kolenspoor) and a highway network the Stiemer valley gets fragmented. From a place of convergence, the Stiemer valley becomes a place of separation between the different neighborhoods

STUDIO WORK

studio Kolenspoor

The discovery in the early 20th century of coal reserves in the Kempen abruptly changes the situation. In just a few years, the remote and underdeveloped region acquires an (inter)national importance. Concentrating 3 out of the 7 Kempen coal mines, the upper basin of the Stiemer is transfigured. The subsidence consequent to the underground mining activities ruins the delicate set of levels that organized the uses of water. The Stiemer creek connected to settling basins and evacuating polluted process water is reduced to a mining device.

The valley is profoundly modified in the early 1980s with the elaboration of a municipal sewer system. A concrete profile, integrating on the flanks the two main collectors of the sewer system, is also used to channel the ‘natural’ creek. The comprehensive system is not only leaving the valley dried out. It also (paradoxically) cause pollution. Collecting a mix of waste water and surface water from roofs, roads and paved surfaces, the combined sewer network is today under the increasing pressure of the ever expanding urbanized area. In case of heavy rain, the collected water exceeds the capacity of the sewer collectors and overflows in the creek.

evolution of the site and the impact of the human on the environment over time


CONCEPT

The Stiemer Ring is a junction that easily connects C-mine, Genk Center, SportinGenk, Thor Park and Genk North in a beautiful landscape. The Ring exists in two levels: the infrastructural level for pedestrians, cyclists and other slow transport; and the lower level with program designed especially for this context. Wandering between the bike rental point, the lab, a bar and the outdoor swimming area, is an interesting architectural route. The Stiemer Ring is organised exactly

between the three ponds created for the water purification. The Stiemer intersects the Ring at opposite points. The architecture of the ring encourages you at all times to look at the landscape and especially the water of the Stiemer

Q | How to restore the fragmented landscape? concept drawings

STUDIO WORK

studio Kolenspoor


STUDIO WORK

studio Kolenspoor

floor plan | sections


rendering | pavilion

STUDIO WORK

studio Kolenspoor


THE NET-WORK BETWEEN

THE BRIDGE BETWEEN EDUCATION AND THE INDUSTRY Year| 2015-2016 Advisors| Prof.arch. Maria Segantini ▪ Arch. Jan Vanweert The world’s population is growing. This results in growing cities and a shortage of housing. But not all cities are growing. Some of them are shrinking because they are socially or economically unfeasible to live in anymore. In Limburg (Belgian and Dutch Limburg), there are some cities like this. The city Heerlen was an important city last century. It was the heart of the Dutch mining industry and had big economic value. This came to an end after the mine closures in the 1970s and 80s. Many people lost their jobs and had to move to find new jobs. This trend is still happening. People are moving to bigger cities to find jobs. The exercise’s purpose is to look for solutions for shrinking cities. How can we make such a city economically important again? I decided to focus on the university campus of Heerlen. The campus lacks an inviting atmosphere and there is no link between academic and professional life. However, the buildings of the university are next to office buildings. For this reason, I designed a “parasite” building, physically connecting the university building and the business center with a new building. This building forms a new connection between the city center and the open nature behind the campus, which is currently not in use. This new building has new classrooms for the students of the university and also room for start-ups. It will also have labs that can be used by both students and businesses. Thus, it is not only a physical connection, but a social connection.

STUDIO WORK

Parkstad - Heerlen


Q | What are the opportunities in a city with a shrinking population?

STUDIO WORK

Parkstad - Heerlen


Q | How to prevent recent graduates from leaving the city?

STUDIO WORK

Parkstad - Heerlen

concept drawings


site plan

STUDIO WORK

Parkstad - Heerlen


STUDIO WORK

Parkstad - Heerlen

floor plans


sections

STUDIO WORK

Parkstad - Heerlen


THE LIGHT OF GENERATIONS

REFRACTION OF LIGHT AND SPACE Year| 2015 Advisors| Prof.dr. Sylvain De Bleeckere ▪ Arch. Ludo Schouterden ▪ ir.arch. Jos Delbroek ▪ dr.ir.arch. Ronald De Meyer ▪ Arch. Peter Bongaerts Is it possible for people of three generations to live with each other in one residence while without sacrificing their personal needs? This was a question I tackled in this assignment, which was one of the most personal to me. I have been living next to my grandmother my entire life. The last 10 years, she has not been mobile, and my brother and I have been helping her around. When I was asked to design a house for three generations under one roof, I took my own experience under consideration. Since my grandmother is not mobile anymore, she can only do things while sitting in place. She can watch television, read, or just watch the people on our street passing her house. With this in mind, I started designing the three-generation house. The concept was to link the outside space and the interior rooms with light. Light means transparency and sight. The different personal bedrooms are centered around a void, and the void has a link with the communal living spaces of the house. These links were translated into windows that connect the rooms and unite the people of the house.

light as a concept light as a connection

STUDIO WORK

three-generation housing

concept drawings


Q | How to house three generations under one roof?

STUDIO WORK

three-generation housing


STUDIO WORK

three-generation housing

floor plans


sections

STUDIO WORK

three-generation housing


SOCIAL HOUSING

U-NITED LIVING GARDENS Year| 2015 Advisors| Arch. Ludo Schouterden ▪ ir.arch. Jos Delbroek ▪ dr.ir.arch. Ronald De Meyer ▪ Arch. Peter Bongaerts The concept of social housing in Belgium is to bring the people of traditional Belgian social housing communities together. I wanted to create an area where there was a lot of contact between the people living in the social housing complex because I believe it is important to have good relations with neighbors and not isolate oneself within one’s home. To strengthen my idea, I brought the living rooms of the houses to the front of the neighborhood square, and I created a front yard to give the neighbors the possibility to meet each other easily and socialize. Realizing that privacy is also necessary at times, I created a more private garden for the residents on the back of the house. The buildings were built in a U shape on top of a parking lot. The parking lot functions as private parking under the dwellings for the residents and public parking in the middle.

STUDIO WORK social housing

concept drawing


STUDIO WORK

social housing


STUDIO WORK social housing

site plan


elevation

STUDIO WORK

social housing


CURATOR HOUSE

THE FRAMED RUIN Year| 2014 Advisors| Arch. Jo Janssen ▪ Arch. Nathalie Bodarwe ▪ Arch. Ludo Schouterden ▪ Arch. Danny Windmolders ▪ Arch. Wilfried Jenzen As part of our bachelor’s program, we were asked to design a house for the curator of a local, small museum, Z33, in Hasselt. The location was an old historical site with beautiful, old architecture. When I started designing this project, I decided to design my building so the residents could enjoy all the beautiful views of the site. This was the main idea of this project – to embrace all the views in the house and turn the windows into frames for the beauty outside. I decided to make my building something completely different than the surrounding buildings. I believed it was important to show it was a new building and not try to make an extension of the old buildings. In my eyes, an extension of the older buildings would have been disrespectful to the history of the older buildings. I wanted to make the difference between the new and the old clear to emphasize the old.

STUDIO WORK curator house

concept drawing


model | site plan

STUDIO WORK

curator house


STUDIO WORK curator house

concept drawing


model | site plan

STUDIO WORK

curator house


BACHELOR PAPER

INSULATION IN SUBURBAN CHICAGO HOMES | ARE SUBURBAN RESIDENTS INSULATING THEIR HOMES PROPERLY? Year| 2014 - 2015 Advisors| Prof.dr. Sylvain De Bleeckere

ABSTRACT

Since I have been spending so much time in America, my interest in American urban areas has grown very strong. In 2013, when I was spending Christmas in the Chicago suburbs, I noticed how snow on the roofs of occupied suburban houses would melt away in just a few hours, even in freezing temperatures, while the snow of empty houses stayed on the roofs. I started to talk about this with people in the Chicago suburbs and soon discovered that they knew very little about home insulation. I later found out how poorly their houses were insulated. This made me start thinking about doing research on this phenomenon, and finally, I decided to write my bachelor paper about it. First, I provide a brief history of insulation in American homes and short explanation of the Chicago climate to set the background of my research. I then describe my focus study of residents of the Chicago suburbs. I analyzed how much suburbanites know about the importance of insulation, if they prioritize insulating their homes, if they had difficulty controlling the temperature in their homes, and if they believe there is a problem with how homes are insulated in suburban Chicago homes. My research shows that there is a problem with how Chicago suburbanites have been insulating their homes. I assess the insulation problem and conclude my research by providing possible solutions.

THESIS


MASTER THESIS

A NEW FUTURE FOR THE SUBURBAN LANDSCAPE | RETROFITTING SUBURBS WITH MOBILITY STRATEGIES Year| 2017 - 2018 Advisors| dr.arch. Bart Janssens â–Ş Arch. Barbara Roosen

ABSTRACT

Suburbia is not as suburban as it used to be. In fact, the lines between urban and suburban are blurring. This dissertation presents a research project that aims to explore the possible strategies of retrofitting suburbs to make them more sustainable. Sustainability often is a missing concept in these neighborhoods. Suburbs are booming and aging which makes it important to invest in their durability so they can grow in healthy ways. This thesis examines three layers that form the basis of the retrofitting process: transportation, land use, and public space. The different layers require different retrofitting approaches, but they all result in architectural and urban design strategies. These retrofitting strategies form an immense opportunity to direct new growth into the existing neighborhoods and frame the debate in this dissertation. The inspiration for this thesis is a previous study of the sustainability of individual residences in the Chicago suburbs, which revealed that a significant number of residences lacked sufficient insulation, yet inhabitants had little interest in changing the energy efficiency of their homes. This thesis goes beyond the individual home to examine sustainability on a broader scale. Sustainability cannot be reduced to individual buildings. Modes of transportation, transit lines, the manner in which land is used, and many other factors impact whether suburban communities are sustainable. This thesis examines these factors, how they interact with each other, and how suburban planners can make communities sustainable without having to rely upon action by individual homeowners. Because, as the previous study showed, suburban residents may be reluctant to change, this thesis shows how suburban planners can shift residents’ views of sustainability by presenting new, convenient, and cost-efficient ways of living everyday life in retrofitted suburbs.

THESIS


Portfolio  

Architectural portfolio

Portfolio  

Architectural portfolio

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