Nisha Fernando

Sustainable Environments: Lessons from Sri Lankan Traditional Architecture

Currently, ‘Sustainable Eco-Friendly Design’ is a strong buzz phrase in the field of architecture, design, and planning. It is indeed a crucial phrase, especially considering that the building industry in the U.S. is the largest contributor to the CO2 emissions, surpassing transportation and other manufacturing industries. Stressing the importance of creating responsible and ecologically
sensitive building designs, architects and designers tend to concentrate on producing tangible tools such as building materials and energy use. While these tools are no doubt useful, they lead us to see only the trees and not the forest, as sustainable environments are in effect a result of a larger worldview. It is time to reorient the focus on a larger, broader, and deeper holistic approach to sustainable design that embodies a philosophy that guides decisions. This lecture is based on this comprehensive topic. It addresses how a worldview had led to truly sustainable thinking in traditional, pre-colonial Sri Lanka that has resulted in time-tested, ecologically sensitive architecture and planning.

Dr. Nisha A. Fernando is an Associate Professor of Interior Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She also served as the Head of the Division of Interior Architecture and Associate Dean 2007-2012. Her research interests include culture and built environments, sensory aspects of spatial experiences, vernacular environments, and design pedagogy. She has
published on several of these subject areas.