Super:Lightness: Lightweight High Performance Northern Architecture


Super:Lightness proposes lightweighting as a means of providing high performance residential architecture in the Canadian North. The North faces severe challenges relating to buildings and infrastructure, as goods and fuel resupply must be shipped at great expense from southern Canada. These challenges compound each other, as the climate of the region and the cost of resupply necessitates highly efficient buildings, while the construction of these projects is complicated by the remoteness and lack of infrastructure. Lightweighting presents a means of moving through these problems, simplifying transportation and construction in remote communities, allowing for the construction of high performance architecture.

Through study of the challenges in the North, from climatic to socioeconomic, and studying past and current building practices in the region, three key elements of transportability, constructability, and building energy performance are identified, with lightweighting as an important means of addressing these. Considering this, precedents from alternative disciplines, and architecture in other settings, are studied as they relate to lightweightness and these key elements, informing building design in the North.

Drawing on research of the northern context and the study of precedents, two prototypes of lightweight high performance residential architecture are proposed, Super:Light Architecture and Northern Lightweight Architecture. These proposals improve on key elements of transportability, constructability, and energy performance, addressing the needs of the North through lightweight design. The design process of these proposals is highly analytical, quantifying component weights and modelling energy consumption to develop an optimized design. This process can inform architecture at large, as the challenges of the North become relevant worldwide due to climate change, fossil fuel depletion, and economic limitations, making lightweight high performance architecture an increasingly impactful design methodology.

The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor: John Straube
Committee member: John McMinn
Internal-external reader: Elizabeth English
External: Alex Lukachko

The defence examination will take place:
Tuesday, June 25, 2024, 2:00 p.m.
In person, Ventin Room ARC2026.
A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.