This thesis approaches the role of architecture by first examining the greater energy context within which the built environment exists. It is implicit that by understanding this energy context those designers, principles and policy makers will grasp the magnitude of their collective decisions. A second section of this thesis presents a specific architectural solution designed to respond to the current approaches as a sustainable alternative.
An analysis of the status quo of supply-side electrical generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure is presented and contrasted to alternative modalities. These alternative approaches, namely Demand Side Management and Distributed Generation, are then compared to the status quo to understand how these approaches conserve resources and may be incorporated into architecture and urban infrastructure.
The architecturally specific portion of this thesis presents materials and technology that is or will be available within the next decade for incorporation into architecture emphasizing demand side performance and distributed generation. As a vehicle of study the program and site of the Laboratories for the 21st Century Student Design Competition, Chemistry and Biology Laboratory is used, as it represents a building typology that is a substantial end-user of energy.
A resultant design solution is presented as a significant architectural expression functioning as an experimental platform for continued research into the benefits of demand side management and distributed generation within a symbiotic resources network. This solution reverses the status-quo/supply-side paradigm of the current energy context thus enforcing the position for the need to understand the supply-side versus demand side relationships, presented in the first section of this research.