Bay Game in class exercise


  • Community/residents in the bay area
  • Government
  • Any NGOs that are being used to help the sustainability of the area
  • Azure worldwide
  • IBM

Non-human factors:

  • Rainfall
  • Permeability of the land (which I know humans can effect) but that affects the runoff
  • Temperature/Sunlight

Interactions that occur among the stakeholders and factors that lead to varying levels of sustainability-related outcomes

  • The more we build on the land around the bay, the less permeable the ground becomes, which increases run off and therefore increases the amount of water in the river.
  • The wanting of keeping the area aesthetically pleasing will lead to a development of a plan to preserve the area. (which could act as a feedback loop of the whole mission as it also has the same end goal)
  • The more we pollute the air, the more toxic particles there are that can affect the work
  • Green house affect leads to higher temperatures- can change the climate. the initial flood was from the melting of glaciers and therefore an increase in temperature could cause another reaction like that.

Thinking in Systems

At the beginning of this book, I thought that it would give a very clear overview of how systems work, and in particular how to fix a problem that a system has through the knowledge of all of the different parts of a system and their particular roles. The disconcerting part of the book was in the last chapter where it says “we will never fully understand our world”. This statement, although a strange thought, is a very accurate one. In the diagrams of the systems, the clouds were used to show parts of the system that we were not analysing, and this in itself is a start to the ambiguity that the world as a system has.

When talking about how everything is a system I started to think of a high school/a social system, and immediately thought of the film ‘Mean Girls’. Here, a ‘new girl’ is entering the high school and has to learn about how the cafeteria ‘tribes’ work and understand each sub-system before she choses her place in the system.

Here we have the floor plan of where everyone has to sit, and their particular roles that they have within this system. If one person was to sit in the wrong place or mess with the order they would cause unease to the structure at hand.

The system that I think has arisen here is one that looks like this:

Here the input and start of the system is the judgement of one group of people to another. This causes the ‘stock’ which I have labeled as the stereotype that is the central aspect of this system, so the depiction of you as a jock/nerd etc. The output of this system is a social hierarchy where one group assumes leadership and authority over the others, creating a fear of breaking free from the cycle. Within this fear of breaking free, people will start to accept the system as true, acting like the stereotype they have been called, and therefore soliciting more judgement from those not in their group.

What interested me about this example is that this is just the overall cafeteria hierarchy, and within each of these stereotypes there is another system that also has a dominant person taking leadership, eg the quaterback in the ‘jocks’. He would be the leader and the one making sure the hierarchy stays as it is so he is on top. You then have the goal of the jocks which is to win the football matches, and the sub goal which is to pass in high school so that they can continue to play. Within this comes the positions of the teachers/the coach who all can easily change the way the team plays and whether they are successful in their goals or not.

This example to me, was to show how everything can be a system, whether it is something that we run into everyday or a set of stereotypes we have never considered. Systems are our only way of understanding the world and getting a better sense of what is going on so that we can eventually set our minds to solving it.

Sources for pictures:

Assignment 2 and 3: Virtual Water Flows

In order to understand the virtual water flows more, I decided to research imports and exports of water flow. I found this interesting chart of data that showed the top countries that EXPORT water for the use of crops, and the top 10 countries that IMPORT water for the use of crops.

The first idea that I had was to show this on a cartogram map, but without enough data to make up the whole world, I used circles of varying sizes to show the net volume of water (10^9 m^3). The Blue circles represent the exporting, and the Red represents the importing.

This can be seen in this map below, both with and without the base map. One is more informative and the other can be seen as more diagramatic and abstract, and therefore both serve a different purpose.

As well as producing this map, I also arranged the country in hierarchal order to show the top exporters and importers in this diagram below. (Assignment 2).


But after discussion I realised that the colours of red and blue for import and export were fairly redundant and that I could use the aspect of colour to represent a third component- such as where the water was flowing from or to.

For this to work I had to look for a new set of data that would give me that information and I found a set of data that tells me the flows, but by continent and not by country, and therefore I had to change a fair amount of my diagram.

While looking at this data I was getting confused with the net totals and therefore made myself a smaller data table that did not include where the water was going and just had the overall numbers to make it less confusing to chart in the initial stage.

After I had this data I started to map up a mixture of the two data tables that I have, and made a flow diagram similar to my last one, but this time with more information and each countries exported water being a different colour to clearly show whose water goes where. (Sankey Diagram)

On both sides of the diagram are the continents in hierarchal order of exporters and importers. The diagram shows the breakdown of where all of the water exported goes to and the composition of all of the imported water.

These two diagrams are using data which is found on a report about Virtual Water Trade by IHE Delft on the Water Footprint Network website. This report has a lot of data on it, and I chose two of the data tables and interpreted them in different ways, one to show the spatial distribution of water flows, and the second to show the literal movement of water and how much water goes from one continent to another.

A-School: designed for procrastination?

During discussion last week, we discussed the temperature in the architecture school, and whether it has a good balance of keeping the building cool in the summer and warm in the winter. We all decided NO. 

After reading Ecology, Design, Synergy by Behnisch and Transsolar, I realised more so the importance of temperature in a building, and how that affects the way in which you work. Here is it said “Thermal discomfort has been identified as the leading source of occupant complaints and decrease in productivity.”

Thinking of the stereotypes of the architecture school as being a well designed building where students spend long hours completing projects, and often pulling all nighters/staying up very late, the idea that the atmosphere created in the architecture school is designed in a way that makes you less able to work was a very interesting. I do not know about other peoples work habits, but I find that for every productive hour that I have, I procrastinate for at least half an hour. This can be through the use of internet or walking around studio and talking to people/’getting inspiration’. Temperature of the room seems like a very good explanation of this, because being hot/cold puts you in a bad mood, making you less likely to be happily working on something that you are doing as you have an excuse to stop. 

That being said, the studios in the architecture school have large windows, and although some of them are slightly blocked off by large sculptures, they tend to let in large amounts of daylight. This corresponds well to the quote in the reading that “access to daylight has the highest correlation to the productivity of people, with increases of 15-50%”. This is a good aspect of the design of the architecture school that contradicts the procrastination due to temperature.


Assignment 1- Changing of the angles!

After realising that the angles on my sight seemed a little wrong, i re-did the joiner, making it more accurate, and definitely making my site more sunny!!

1. My site gets 8 hours of sunlight on March 21st. The sun rises at 8am and sets at 6pm, but from 10am to 11am there is no sunlight due to shade from a tree and from 3:15 to 4:15 the site is once again blocked by the sun.

2.On Dec 21st the sun first strikes my site at 8am and on June 21st at 7:10am

3. June 21st has the most sunlight on my site

4. On August 15th at 3pm the sun is at 47 degrees altitude and 255 degrees azimuth. It still does not strike my site there as there is a tall tree in the way.

5. A porch that would be warm in the winter and cool in the summer should be oriented to the SE because there are fewer trees blocking the sun making it warmer. For low angled winter sun there is more sunlight in the SE that will keep the porch warm in the winter, whereas in the SW direction there is a house and lower trees that prevent the area from getting sun during the winter

6. The most predominant shading of trees somes from the SW as that is where the trees seem the most obtrusive. This would alter the positioning of windows, and, as stated in answer 5, the placing of a porch.

Technology vs Nature

This week, the lecture and the readings touched upon nature and technology. From using an iphone to measure the angle of something, to the Geostationary earth observatory that professor Sherman talked about, technology seems to have an expanding control on the earth.

Each of the readings for this week touched upon this in one way or another. In Solar Geometry, it was said that “with the rapid growth of science and technology, mankind came to believe that all problems could be solved by high technology and that it was no longer necessary to live in harmony with nature”. This is a scary thought to think of as it suggests that technology is more powerful that nature, and therefore may ruin in the process of ‘solving problems’.

As said by Moe in Thermally Active Surfaces in Architecture, we tend not to know much about the operations of technology and accept the building technologies. He also says that the increased technology limits the role of the architect. I find these two statements very interesting because if the technology is reducing the need of nature, and of people (eg through machinery taking the jobs of people), the world can soon turn into a place with nothing living having an active part in the environment and being controlled by all of the mechanics around us.

The last quote that I wanted to bring up in accordance with all of this was one from the ecodesign reading. Here it was said that “our health as human beings depends on the continued health of our natural environment”. This makes it seem that any change in nature can and will cause damage to all of the living beings on the earth, which then leads us to worry about all of the changes around us and whether they are helping or harming the environment.

This to me brought up the question of what the role of technology in our society is. In the first reading it suggests that technology is a problem solver, but in the second it suggests it as replacing human beings for certain jobs. These two roles do not seem to match up, as it leads to unemployment as many peoples jobs become redundant due to the quality of work by the ‘high technology’.
Although technology can help to make things more sustainable and energy efficient, it is still a developing science that is not yet concrete and could cause dramatic changes to the natural environment and the way that we live.

Assignment 1: Sun Path

My site is on 10 1/2 street, close to Page. I visited my site on the 6th of September at 5:45pm.

1. On March 21st my site only receives 5 hours of sunlight, although the sun is out for approx. 12 hours, it is blocked off by trees in many spots.

2. The sun first strikes my site at 10:20am on Dec 21st and 10am on June 21st

3. April 21st is the day that has most sunlight on my site in the year

4. On August 15th at 3pm the sun is at 47 degrees altitude and 255 degrees azimuth. It does not strike my site there as there is a large tree in the way.

5. A porch that would be warm in the winter and cool in the summer would be possible in the south west, but only for a very short amount of time as the tree in the South west blocks the sun in the summer months but allows it in February.

6. There are many trees on my site, making it a fairly shaded area all year round. The least shaded areas that should be taken advantage of are in the NE and the SW as there are more gaps between the trees there.