This thesis analyzes the theories of Critical Regionalism, including specific building techniques that use timber frame construction, site planning, and energy analysis, and applies them to a property in southwestern New York state. The property is situated on a small body of water called Loon Lake. This is a rural setting, but is highly populated along the waterfront. The lake is about three miles in length and the site of approximately 120 homes and cottages. The lake is considered private; however, there are frequent visitors who are granted access by local property owners to the water via boat. The lake has unique natural conditions in that it lies at an elevation of 1700 feet above sea level and atop a hill. It is subject to high winds and storm fronts, while precipitation is often higher than in the surrounding area. Temperatures are typically 5 degrees cooler than in nearby, lower-lying areas. The goal of this thesis is to create an energy-efficient, residential structure suitable for this environment. This involves creating a working custom model that incorporates sustainable building techniques and can be adapted to the unique requirements of a specific location. Aesthetically, the building challenges the conventional local architecture due to its methodology and techniques, which take advantage of and conserve local resources in a holistic way. Site planning through to the finished design is not only sustainable in terms of materials and energy use but is also intended to be economically feasible, providing a model that can be duplicated and transposed to other locations. The design accurately represents the theories of Critical Regionalism and expresses a balance of tectonics and technology working together in a way that promotes a progressive policy of sustainable human craftsmanship.
Department, Program, or Center
Dennis A. Andrejko
Alissa De Wit-Paul
Burns, James S., "Argument for a Critical Perspective in Residential Architecture" (2021). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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