Ben Schwarz

Ben Schwarz

Minneapolis, MN, US


A Sustainable Living Solution for Southern Minnesota

This thesis discusses the possibility and feasibility of designing sustainably in
harsh climatological extremes. It more specifically covers the typology of single
family residential dwellings, better known as town-homes. It is proposed through
the theoretical premise/unifying idea that the definition of sustainable architecture
and all areas of sustainable design for that matter, do change in terms of
technical application from region to region, and climate to climate; keeping in
mind that the underlying concepts and general goals remain the same. The justification
behind this thesis is that without a sustainable approach to design and
building, our ecosystem and eventually the human race will suffer the ill effects
of poorly thought-out and inefficient solutions to problems. It is only through
proper research and careful consideration that we can more responsibly use our
natural resources, in turn creating and maintaining a healthier environment for
ourselves and future generations.
The town-homes being designed are intended for middle-class families ranging
between two and five members. The development will consist of twenty single
family units. These town-homes would likely be privately owned and operated by
a small team of employees under the direction of a landlord. All units within the
complex will include a master bedroom and bathroom, a modest guest room,
closest and additional storage space, a kitchen and dining area, a great room,
private laundry facilities, and based on unit size, additional bedrooms and bathrooms.
Square footages per unit will range from 1900 square feet in two person
units up to 3150 square feet in five person units. The site for the project is located
on along the south facing bluff along county road 43 in Winona, MN.
The main goal of this project is to create a sustainable living solution for first
time home buyers/renters in a geographic region harboring harsh climatological
extremes. This design is not to be completed lavishly, rather through modest
yet inventive sustainable techniques, thereby remaining affordable for the bulk
of middle class citizens.
Prior to design, extensive research and case studies will be conducted covering
the areas of site and typology, as well as historical matters concerning sustainable
design. The bulk of the research will be done through a mixed method of
both qualitative and quantitative means.


If interested, please visit the link provided below, to view a copy of all digital files pertaining to this thesis:

Direct link to digital thesis files:


Additionally, please feel free to contact me to request a high definition copy of any of the renderings, hand drawn images, or any other items associated with this project.

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Status: School Project
Location: Winona, Minnesota