Applying To The Making Meaning Summer Essay


¶ … applying to the Making + Meaning summer program is to enhance my understanding of, and ability to create, interesting, thought-provoking, and purpose-driven design. To that end, I am particularly interested in learning more about the tenets of earth sheltering and its practical applications in our modern world. While in many respects we have become divorced from the sustainable design practices of the earliest humans, earth sheltering remains a viable means of situating a home or other building in its environment. Earth sheltering is a means of leveraging a building's natural surroundings in order to provide insulation. Typically constructed on a hillside, an earth-sheltered home uses earth and soil to insulate a home or building. Given that below the frost line the temperature is remarkably stable, such a "soil wrap" reduces temperature fluctuations in the building's internal temperature, providing a stable environment conducive to human living.

An earth-sheltered home is very much "of its place." Sun exposure, drainage, and foliage coverage must all be considered, and accounted for, when designing and constructing an earth-sheltered building. Homes such as these are integrated in to the surrounding physical environment, rather than constructed upon it. Earth sheltering is the manifestation of a recognition that, in order to achieve long-term sustainability, humans must adapt their lives and living circumstances to their natural surroundings,...


Earth sheltering also increases water absorption, reducing rainwater run-off and enhancing the growth of vegetation in the building's microclimate. This can help create a beautiful natural environment for the home or building, as well as facilitate the growth of useful plants, such as herbs, vegetables, and other edible plants, once again reducing the negative impact of a building, and its inhabitants, on the land.
While in more recent time earth sheltering has grown in popularity among those concerned with their impact on the environment, particularly those interested in passive solar design and sustainable architecture, earth sheltering is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a new development; humans have been utilizing earth sheltering since the dawn of humanity. While we, as a society, have strayed from the tenets of sustainability practiced by our ancestors out of necessity, the value of such integrated designs has not lessened. I hope to leverage the Making + Meaning program, including the experience and perspectives of my fellow students, to further explore the challenges, benefits, and opportunities presented by earth sheltering, particularly with respect to rice farming technology.

I am a strong candidate for the Making + Meaning program scholarship for a variety of reasons. First among these though, is my…

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