Arch 571: Energy Efficient Living
Graduate Design Studio
Mark Taylor, Fall 2018
“The Austere” imagines a future in which a climate catastrophe necessitates a mass exodus from the city along with a return to “the essential.” It appropriates the language and presentation style of Sears-Catalog Homes, as well as contemporary “native-advertising” posts on social media, to render a life of “sustainable” austerity with an ironic sense of dignity, grace, and American exceptionalism. The project is a space to consider how lifestyles and identities are imagined, propagated, and consumed by Americans through advertising, using a language of nostalgia, romance, transcendence. It also seeks to manifest broad anxieties about the trajectory of America’s media-saturated consumerist society.
The home at its center employs sustainable strategies and efficient space planning to create a domestic condition for four people within 576 square feet. The unit sits romantically on the precipice of a hill, a decayed barn on the horizon. The facade evokes vernacular styles of eco-modernism and rural-industrial.