Kerrie Butts

Kerrie Butts

Chicago, IL, US



Project: Connected Isolation
Site: Galapagos Islands
Harvard University, Professor: Maryann Thompson
Fall 2008

Program: Satellite Campus for International University & Housing

Faced with the issue of urban & infrastructural expansion occurring in a traditionally remote, fragile, and invaluable ecosystem, one is left to wonder how to address some of the most fundamental notions of architecture. The design proposal takes a site specific, approach to architecture that organizes the program among the found fragments of the site as a series of pavilions and walkways that transect the existing site conditions- pasture, clearing, forest and lava tunnels.

Located in the agricultural highlands of Santa Cruz island, algaeculture is integrated with the campus design to provide a sustainable energy and waste management strategy. The constant importation of fuel creates the risk of oil spills in some of the most delicate marine habitats. Diesel fuel shipped over 600 miles from the mainland is the primary energy source for the island’s power generators. The tourism sector is the largest consumption of fuel, accounting for almost 50% of the total amount supplied. The next largest sector is the electricity sector with 21%. For every dollar spent in direct diesel fuel expenses, the government spends approx. 2.5 dollars in diesel fuel subsidies.

Algaeculture as part of a Productive Landscape
1. Algae produce 100 times more oil per acre than traditional food oilseed crops such as soy, etc. (algae 5,000- 20,000 gallons/acre/year versus 50 gallons per acre for soy.)
2. Algae reduces CO2, the major Global Warming Gas, and produce oxygen.
3. Algae require only sunshine and non-drinkable (salt or brackish) water.
4. Algae farms could also be constructed to use waste streams (either human or animal waste from animal farms) as a food source
5. Algae do not compete with food crops for either agricultural land or fresh water.

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Status: School Project