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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Can we design waste? This is a question I seek to answer through the research of design and systems. Waste is an ever evolving and growing issue in our world today. Buildings and the spaces we inhabit contribute to the vast destruction and increasing detriment to our natural world. There are many “remedies” in the construction industry that attempt to regulate building waste and inspire sustainability, but are merely ruses for a much deeper rooted problem than sustaining the way we live. Sustainability is not enough, it simply means we are doing less bad while still perpetuating the problem of waste. Design, architecture, and construction must go beyond this to eradicate the issue; producing “less” waste is not a solution, but a redefining of the essence in which we live is a mandate.

This thesis seeks to explore the conundrum of waste through the lens of design. This thesis will study systems as a tool for waste remediation and regeneration. It will explore and scrutinize both building systems such as HVAC and energy efficiency as well as space making systems, scenario based, environmental, sociological, and economical systems, all which have an important and integral impact on design, our environment, and the human population.

To answer the question, can we design waste, we must redefine our lives and the systems that propel us habitually in the ways we make, produce, work, eat, and live. Moving away from systems of simplicity to those of diversity and complexity. To do this we must re-examine new and existing systems from socioeconomic to the natural cycles of rain water and evaporation. We must re-define the way we live, on all levels, from how we live and what we use to what we actually need to survive happily and harmoniously with ourselves and our planet. The key – Design.


First Advisor

Kathleen Lugosch

Second Advisor

Sigrid Miller Pollin