PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe concrete masonry unit (CMU) has been a standard in the building industry for the last century, widely utilized for its durability, modular assembly, and its’ relative ease of handling. While there are a variety of sizes, the general form of the CMU has remained unchanged; the same module can be used anywhere in the world. The goal of this project is to increase the aesthetic and thermodynamic performance of CMUs by re-investigating the interior and exterior surface geometries of the unit with the intent of extracting greater thermodynamic performance. This greater performance in turn correlates to user comfort and more ecologically responsible building practices. I propose a modular system of construction derived from the relationship between material, fabrication, and assembly, and results in a unit able to thermodynamically respond to daily and seasonal variations in solar condition. The application for this model is wall system that tempers the environment of the Sonoran desert, where we witness great contrasts in solar conditions throughout the year. Geometry and materiality become points of interaction with the environment, as the Thermal Masonry Unit (Thermal[MU]) provides the capacity to absorb, store, and/or dissipate energy. The Thermal[MU] utilizes these attributes by acting as a filter between environment and user: providing shade and a thermal barrier in the summer and collecting/distributing the heat gain in the winter months. This passive thermal control is important because it makes a more economical use of material properties and forming principles and establishes a direct physical relationship between the user and the environment.
Degree ProgramGraduate College