Systems can be seen in everyday life, from how the body functions to how the population changes.  In architecture, systems help to provide greater insight into designing more successful and sustainable architecture.   For example, the system of how materials react within the environment is important in order to provide the best cooling, insulation and sustainability for a structure. Materials are first affected by the weather, which involves the climate, time of day and human population.   The outflow of materials is the dying of the material, or the decomposition.  Wood, for example, is highly affected by the amount of forests in the environment. This has to do with the amount of living trees, which is a direct result of the weather and the amount of logging by the human population.  After time, wood becomes decomposed.  However, a feedback loop is created in the system because the wood can then be used again as mulch.  Without understanding the system of wood as a material, a large amount of trees would be wasted, which would then generate an even greater issue among the living population on Earth.  Systems are essential knowledge for not only creating sustainable architecture, but for creating a sustainable living environment outside of the built structure.

The importance of material systems can be seen right here at home with the Rotunda.  For over a year now, the capitals on the columns have been covered up by ‘black socks’ because “the capitals’ decorative carvings seem to have been damaged by an acidic mixture brought on by rain and decades of coal dust that settled in the cracks and grooves. The coal dust, Neuman [, the university’s architect] said, likely came from chimneys of nearby buildings, such as the Pavilions” (MCNEILL, The Hook).  A study of the marble and what factors are causing this damage need to be looked into further in order to fix this issue.

McNeill, Brian. “The Rotunda’s Black Socks.” The Hook – Charlottesville’s Weekly Newspaper, News Magazine. 12 June 2010. Web. 04 Sept. 2011. <http://www.readthehook.com/67595/rotundas-black-socks&gt;.

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