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It has been my privilege for the past five years - present, to teach graduate engineering students at Central Marseille the subject of sustainable development in architecture.

I am particularly interested in "autonomous architecture," or architecture that is self-sustaining, a topic of global concern.  Though it is vast and challenging, as to seem overwhelming, I believe in the power of the individual to effect change and that people are their own best agents.  Seeing what an individual or a family can do personally in their sphere will help us understand how we can we can make progress rather than impose a sovereign on our choices.


For the academic year of 2019-2020 two groups made a "case study" of my house, calculating and designing the réseaux :  energy, water, waste, and future planting for each system to function autonomously, efficiently, and be replenishible.  One group studied thermal rupture with a 35,000€ infrared camera!  


I also wanted the students, many of them far from their home countries, to understand the ingenuity of the French engineering tradition which combines technicity and innovation with architecture.  Instead of just designing circuitry, the students were asked to synthesize their calculations into elegant engineering.  


We visited several chateaux in the area with archeologist, Annabelle Ibghi, to understand the prodigious hydraulic systems which connect throughout the Provence.  In La Roque d'Anthèron the vestige of the system designed by Adam Craponne, engineer of the King, which is said to have been funded by Nostradamus for transporting the source water from La Roque d'Anthèron to St. Remy de Provence, still runs throughout the park of the chateau.  Chateau Arnajons, whose façade was created for the arrival of Louis XVI, has 600m of stone-laid tunnels, perhaps dating as early as Roman times, collecting water from "les mines d'eau" or water mines, traversing two forests of centennial oaks connecting to the site, which are dispersed into 17 different waterworks : a reservoir and principal fountains to two basins of 50m, one with a lower pool for swimming with goldfish (!), a watercress basin, a pool to water the animals, laundry basins, grottos, etc.  The "mines d'eau" still function, but are, unfortunately, from a science which has been lost. There is wisdom in learning from the past as well as advancing new technology.  

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