This thesis investigates the role of culture in sustainable design theory and aims to invert some common assumptions about sustainability drivers as predominantly defined by a Western techno-centric design profession. Through a case study of an architectural project under way in Cambodia with the Cham people, I will assess principles of sustainability in architecture from the vantage points of written language, religion, cultural heritage, building typologies, reception theory, building design, and architectural practice as it relates to the international development. These inquiries and assessments seek to reveal the importance of lived cross-cultural experience and research in sustainable design theory and aim to more precisely locate architecture’s role in society as a catalyst for positive social change. By addressing culture as a primary motor for collective action the present work moves sustainability studies forward.
This thesis has been undertaken as a stepping stone to a PhD in Environmental Design Research that I hope will address similar issues at the scale of international development, policy, and implementation.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. April 2012. tecture. Advisor: Blaine Brownell. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 90 pages.
Westphal, Ahti R..
New social architecture and the dilemma of culture in sustainable design:The case of the Cambodian Center for Cham Studies..
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