Steve Townsend (Chair)
A desire for sustainability is only as old as the metropolis itself. The modernizing, industrializing technics that engendered the emergence of the metropolis and its associated liberations also engendered many of its ultimate limitations, such as the unsustainable patterns of development that today some designers of the world aim to amend. In order to propose patterns of development–forms of knowledge, practices and technics–that could induce and activate the culturally, politically, ecologically, and publicly amplified, diverse, robust, exuberant, and vital environments that center the desire for a sustainable metropolis, a description of how basic development occurs over time in the physical world–from the molecular to the territorial–is useful if not fundamental and ultimately provides an approach to the sustainable metropolis. Knowledge of how the world’s material continuum unfolds, always social before it is physical in the metropolis, could expand our understanding of the behavior of the city and consequently help guide the development of our cities today towards ever more exuberant, more free, and more robust qualities of life.
Actual patterns of physical development for the sustainable metropolis are the aim of this essay. After describing the city as a material continuum, this essay considers a number of perennial tendencies that have thus far determined approaches to the sustainable metropolis. The aim is to discern patterns of development within these tendencies that can actually integrate the processes and pressures that continuously form the city and therefore could, if understood and directed, support and enhance the dynamic, streaming equilibrium of the sustainable metropolis, a metropolitan homeorhesis.
The Epigenetic landscape is a virtual but real space that visualizes the process and history of physical development. The sphere represents a developing entity and the various chreods or valleys represent the potential, fluvial developmental pathways of change that development encounters in time. Everything in the world has its own chreodic character. (Waddington, C.H. Tools for Thought: How to Understand and Apply the Latest Scientific Techniques of Problem Solving. John Cape, London, 1977. Pg. 29).
is a registered practicing architect and Associate Professor of Architecture and Energy in the Department of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. His research and pedagogy focus on an agenda for design and energy that is at once more ecologically and architecturally ambitious. As such, he focuses on both buildings as manifestations of large-scale energy systems as well as overlooked and discrete thermal parameters in buildings that yet have great impact on the power and thermodynamic depth of architecture. This research is the basis for his design research and his design practice. In recognition of his design and research, Moe was the 2009-10 Gorham P. Stevens Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture as well as the 2012 and 2014 Barbara and Andrew Senchak Fellow MacDowell Colony. He received the 2013 Boston Design Biennial award, the 2011 Architecture League of New York Prize, the 2011 AIA National Young Architect award, and numerous design awards for individual projects from the AIA, North American Wood Design Awards, and Boston Society of Architects, among others.