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Affordable Housing for Artists: A Sustainable Prototype
Although many architects and builders feel that designing for both sustainability and affordability is impossible, I believe that the only way we can afford to live is sustainably. Through the design of housing for artists, this thesis will demonstrate how a building can both meet the needs of its inhabitants and practice sustainable principles in a beautiful design. This Austin, Texas model can be used as a prototype for similar housing in other cities and for other environmentally friendly buildings. Sustainability is a crucial issue for the energy-guzzling United States. The Rocky Mountain Institute states that the biggest energy consumers in the US "are not cars, but homes. In 1990, for example, American households consumed $110 billion worth of energy." This project investigates means to design a building that uses as little energy as possible while maintaining a high quality of life. Austin is an ideal site because of its commitment to building sustainably, as established by the Austin Green Builder Program which "assists owners and designers to develop sustainable business practices" and offers an environmental rating system for residential construction. The Green Building Conference defines sustainability as, "products, systems, buildings, and land planning that create and promote an environment for healthy human living which can be sustained into the future-unpolluted by its waste or byproducts; thus, preserving and maintaining our natural resources for future generations." As an architecture student, I am intrigued by the issue of architecture as art. Looking beyond the narrow view of architecture as merely form manipulation to a broader base which considers the needs of the building's inhabitants and its impact on the earth, in addition to its form, is essential. As a former art major, I am interested in helping artists achieve a quality lifestyle by providing a space where they can afford to live and produce their art. The struggle for artists to earn a living is a common theme throughout the history of art. The shortage of affordable housing in American cities further contributes to their plight. My goal is to create housing that is efficient, less expensive to operate, and therefore, more affordable. This project studies different types of community living and precedents for both artist housing and affordable housing in the US. I will advance these models further in the direction of energy efficiency without sacrificing their beauty or socio-cultural significance in my design for a community of 16- 21 artists.
Ness, M. (1998). Affordable Housing for Artists: A Sustainable Prototype. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from