An Investigation into the Lexicon of Waste
Lau, Carmen Allison
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Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the increase in population, urbanization, cheap energies, and new technologies have bankrupted the environment into destruction. This chaos has created a society that transformed itself into one of continual wasting, where energy and resources are constantly dissipating. The myriad of new materials, the decline of the skilled craftsman, and cheap construction are part of the lexicon that defines the 21st century built landscape and ultimately contribute to current plight. Architecture will become an increasingly significant factor in determining the sustainability of the built environment, as defined in terms of life span, carbon footprint, and in our ability to confine this dissipated and inert energy into near infinite circulation. This thesis investigates methods to maximize the value of existing resources such as waste in the context of a much larger framework of systems—societal, socioeconomic, geopolitical, and environmental factors that concern the current discourse. An analysis of design methods and strategies into the ecology of waste, such as: cradle to cradle, secondary re-use of post consumer materials, embodied energy, life-cycle analysis tools, and design for deconstruction—aid in a series of themed hypotheses and experimental projects. These projects use waste and wasted landscape to seek answers to a series of questions that deal with the future predicament of our cities in order to shift perceptions and form contemporary methodologies that assist in calibrating potentials for future waste and waste-scapes.