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Title: Redeveloping the houseboat community of Yellowknife: an exploration into the pertinence of true sustainability in northern communities
Authors: Burt, Margaret
Keywords: Sustainability;the North;housing;renovation;recycle;community
Issue Date: 6-Apr-2020
Abstract: Redeveloping the Houseboat Community of Yellowknife: An Exploration into the Pertinence of True Sustainability in Northern Communities confronts current issues surrounding climate change and the potential solutions for one northern city, Yellowknife, NT. It strives to redevelop and adapt existing housing typologies in accordance with green building certification systems to achieve true sustainability without shortchanging the North. The architecture of the North is often expensive, unsustainable, poorly constructed, and ill-suited to the climate, putting its occupants at a disadvantage. In Yellowknife, this is no different, and yet this resilient, creative, and driven community has begun to develop its own solutions. There are currently many homes that are offgrid and carry themes of material re-use, mobile architecture, and generational expansion. In order to achieve regional relevancy, three existing housing typologies will be the focus of this thesis and serve as a basis for the design. These will be the houseboats, the manufactured home, and the “shack,” all of which are located within the neighborhood of Old Town, the oldest and most unique neighborhood in Yellowknife. The strengths and weaknesses of each one of these typologies have been analyzed, both in terms of sustainability and cultural significance. Six of the most popular green building certification systems were analyzed using a matrix of twenty-two critical factors of sustainability to ensure that the best systems would be used for this project. The reality was that one system could not cover everything, and so Passive House an Living Building Challenge will be used to measure the success of the sustainability of this project and guide the design. The use of a green building certification systems serves as a tool to guide future practitioners but also helps to legitimize the efforts made in the North and give them a new way to rate the local built environment. The final design will combine all of the above to develop a renovation response for one of the existing houseboats. New construction is rare in the North, and often produces copious amounts of greenhouse gases due to travel required for both materials and personnel. There is also a great deal of sequestered carbon in the existing buildings and a long history in Yellowknife of retrofitting existing buildings through out their lifetime. The mistakes and knowledge gained from this first exercise will be used to develop a second design, this time a new build. This will use only recycled materials accessible to the local community, challenging designers perceptions of teriality. There will also be a community component to the house design, as there has been some contention between the houseboaters and the broader community of Yellowknife with respect to local sustainability. As a whole, the main focus will be to develop a method that takes architecture that has been developed regionally and makes it as sustainable as possible. This thesis focuses on the uniqueness of this community and how a solution can be developed so that the North can come to demand more from its architecture.
Appears in Collections:Architecture - Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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