This past weekend, our entire 3rd year studio took a class trip to Philadelphia in order to explore the city and further examine our various sites for ongoing projects.  As studio groups, we broke up and walked throughout the city, discovering a Philadelphia most of us had never known before.  On on of my studio’s trips into the city we met up with Scott Erdy of emArchitects in Philadelphia.  He took us through a slideshow of their most important projects, past and current.  As he explained the design behind all these projects, it was reassuring to see that this accomplished architecture firm took into account things we have been learning in class so far this semester.  In the projects described to us it was evident that there was a heavy design influence coming from solar studies, passive heating and cooling technologies, alternative forms of energy, and attention to climate and weather.

These projects included features as small as tilted windows to account for the sun’s angle over different seasons, to entire roof structures covered in photovoltaic panels to create a building that would be LEED Platinum certified and net-zero (using only the energy it generates itself).  This attention to the systems we have been learning about all semester served to reinforce the importance of what we learn in class.


As a side note, we also played a card game on the bus ride to Philadelphia that reminded me of the Thinking in Systems book.  The way this game is played, after one round the game turns into a limited reinforcing feedback loop, rewarding higher ranked players and penalizing lower ranked players.  Who knew that after only a few hours of fall break I would still be seeing things through a systems point of view.