Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Architecture and Community Design

Major Professor

Michael Halflants, M. Arch.


Architecture, Sustainable, Library, Human ecology, University, Green design


Throughout time, our natural environment has been one of the only constants in our evolution. While cultures change and evolve, nature's beauty and positive effects on humans have always been present. Unfortunately, our built environment has generated much attention for its profound impact on our natural environment. Buildings in the United States consume a third of our total energy use, raw material use, and waste output, not to mention the negative effects they can have on our well-being, economy, health and productivity. In an effort to protect our natural environment, our built environment must become more responsible to the environment and the building users. A great stride has been made lately with the emergence of organizations like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and the US Green Building Council. These organizations have pinpointed the benefits that result from building green.

Still, sustainable design has become complicated and is missing the awareness and priority of the qualitative experiences one receives when their built environment and natural environment coexist. With this thesis, I explored an evolving building type, the library, as a symbol of our evolving culture and its relationship to nature; studied the phenomenological relationship between humans and their natural environment; defined basic design principles for sustainable design; analyzed successful and unsuccessful examples of libraries and sustainable architecture; studied the process of programming a building efficiently; and explored creating architectural and natural environmental experiences. This thesis proposed a design of a new academic library in Sarasota, Florida. It is located on the campus of New College of Florida on the Sarasota Bay, servicing New College of Florida, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, and the general public.

This project's goal was to give both library users and the public the opportunity to have memorable, sensory experiences of architecture and nature in their everyday life and buildings they inhabit. This constant reminder of the beauty of nature will place a desire in the public to protect and preserve it. While nature is defined as the 'constant', it will only be a constant throughout time if we take care of it now.