Aleksandra Jaeschke defends Doctoral Dissertation

Woodbury Adjunct Faculty member Aleksandra Jaeschke successfully defended her doctoral dissertation Green Apparatus: Ecology of the American House According to Building Codes at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Jaeschke will graduate with a Doctor of Design (DDes) degree.

Iñaki Ábalos – Harvard Graduate School of Design
Antoine Picon – Harvard Graduate School of Design
Jane Hutton – University of Waterloo, School of Architecture

You can read more about Jaeschke’s dissertation below.

Dissertation Overview

In 2008, California introduced the first-in-the-nation Green Building Standards Code to encourage sustainable construction practices. While the adoption of the CALGreen Code marked a significant moment in the process of the greening of building regulations, it represents only one moment in the nation’s history of code-making, and in that of environmental action. Two parallel narratives, and the effects of their eventual mergence are the subject of this study. The first is a story of the agendas that shaped the American house, and the regulations that govern it. The second is an account of the rise of environmental awareness as gradually standardized by law-makers,
interpreted through technology, and shaped by the market. The goal is to evaluate the wide-ranging consequences of their convergence; the combined influence of building regulations and green incentives on environmental awareness, rather than the isolated impact of green building standards on environmental performance.

As Gregory Bateson observed, ideas and programs interact and survive in circuits. It would then be a fallacy to assume that by changing ideas and programs, and updating standards, we can alter environmental awareness, or minimize environmental impact. Ideas and standards must be updated, but the rule-making circuits from which they originate need to be questioned and occasionally re-circuited as well.


Aleksandra Jaeschke is an architect and a doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She received her AA Diploma from the Architectural Association in London in 2005. Aleksandra is co-founder of the architectural studio AION, and she holds a professional license in Italy. Her interests range from issues of broadly-conceived sustainability and integrated performance in architecture, to system-based design processes as a means to achieve synthesis between spatial and ecological innovation. Her current research investigates the relationship between the building code and the environmental impact of residential construction, using the Los Angeles code as case study.