Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thesis Abstract

By Michelle Harris

Passive Houses exceed typical construction standards in their strictly regimented reviews. They are designed for carbon neutral living- minimizing energy use through year-round  temperature and humidity control inside the home. This design approach establishes Passive Houses as a means of scientific success. However the implications of the design’s success is not just measured in thermal barriers. There is also a need for aesthetics. The aesthetics that inspire home or a sense of belonging is an point I seek to explore through my research. My objective is comprehensive study of individual’s brain functions in experiencing the comfort and the aesthetics in a typical Passive House. This study will inform the participants and researchers of the home’s success.
The need for belonging and the enjoyment of the context reflection is subjective to each individual. Defining a stable perspective of how the individual mind views space is to delineate matrices of information to a conglomerate parameter. Individual uniqueness can also be attested for within this matrix of information by noting and organizing key mental assumptions of space.  This will be represented by an interval metric study of social responses to different Passive House scenarios within a regulated environment, whereby many stigmas that occur prior to exposure. This will provide a means to understand the responses and the stigmas in a constructive manner.

One assumption that has greatly influenced the Passive House movement in the United States is the availability, selection and cost of the products used in construction. For example the windows are typically triple pane, gas sealed and imported from Switzerland. The exotic material options may be a stigma for  clients to retreat specifically because there is not a particular style that reflects their design preferences. My observation of the struggle to please the client interested in a Passive House triggered further investigation of the mind’s creation of a satisfying space. Visually pleasing and comfortable spaces are what a resident is searching for in a home. 

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