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The Triangle of Sustainability: a comparative study of contemporary sustainable architecture in Beijing and Pittsburgh

Hou, Lin (2017) The Triangle of Sustainability: a comparative study of contemporary sustainable architecture in Beijing and Pittsburgh. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Sustainable architecture is increasingly becoming not only iconic of higher life quality, but also a great tool to reduce energy usage in response to global climate change concerns. More and more, sustainable architecture has diverse foci based on what standards (such as LEED) architects choose. Looking at those standards, and how different architects approach them, it becomes essential to look for similarities and differences.

In 2015 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the two largest polluters— America and China—committed themselves to cut CO2 emissions. In this study I am performing a comparative analysis of two recently designed major buildings in Pittsburgh and Beijing, two top cities in America and China which are developing sustainable architecture in response to similar climate issues: the New Tower in PNC Plaza and the Parkview Green Mall in Beijing.

There are two core questions that I intend to answer by the end of this research project: (1) Why does each building go beyond minimum sustainability standards required in its respective country? (2) What are each project’s respective foci in designing their own sustainability solutions? I will first analyze two different standards applied in two case studies— the U.S. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and China’s GB (Evaluation Standard for Green Building). How does each standard address different climate issues and how applicable are they in their respective countries?

In order to make the comparison between these two buildings easier to understand, I will focus on their similarities and differences in five major categories: standards, human use, multi-functionality, the focus on sustainability, and central ventilation. However, the comparison is not limited to these categories. For example, communication and raising public awareness about sustainability is another aspect that I explore. My honors thesis includes a website which contains a short movie and animations to help explain my research project in greater detail.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hou, Linlih54@pitt.edulih54
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRajagopalan, Mrinalinimrr55@pitt.edumrr55
Committee MemberAl,
Committee MemberBilec, Melissambilec@pitt.edumbilec
Committee MemberArmstrong, Drewcda68@pitt.educda68
Date: 25 April 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 April 2017
Approval Date: 25 April 2017
Submission Date: 18 April 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 71
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Architectural Studies
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: B.Phil Honor Thesis in Sustainable Architecture
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2017 18:02
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2017 05:15


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