Sri Gaura Ely

Mentor: Dr. Stephen Belton
College of Design, Construction, and Planning
"In light of a TED Talk I had stumbled upon by Michael Green, who completely changed the way I thought about wood in architecture, I desired a platform to pursue this interest. The undergraduate architecture program does not include a thesis project, so I took it upon myself to find one. The University Scholars Program is what I decided upon because it allowed me the freedom to engage my multiple research interests, though primarily engineered wood. This interest is because I desire a more sustainable approach for architecture. So coupled with my growing curiosity of wooden engineering, architectural development, and sustainability, I got involved with the USP to be a part of positive progress. In short, I am inspired, and wish to use architecture and research to be an inspiration for others."




Sustainability in the Built Environment

Research Interests

  • Material Research
  • Sustainable Practice
  • Structural Technology

Academic Awards

  • Federal Pell Grant 2012-2016
  • Bright Futures Scholarship 2012-2013
  • FL Student Assistance Grant 2013-2014
  • I Douglas Turner Grant 2014-2016
  • University Scholars Program 2015-2016


  • Solar Decathlon, Team Florida-Singapore
  • National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMAS)
  • The Society for Collegiate Leadership & Achievement (SCLA)


  • Meal Server, Krishna Lunch
  • Stage Performer, Traveling Youth Tour
  • Assistant PE Coach, ALC Middle School

Hobbies and Interests

  • Socializing
  • Traveling
  • Table Tennis
  • Soccer

Research Description

Sustainable Cities through Wood Technologies
Wood is a natural material, more renewable than any other currently in use for building construction. But for large scale and commercial projects, due to past problems of flammability and structural integrity, wood as the primary support has been overlooked for a long time. Many of these problems already have solutions, a wide range of architects, engineers, and other researchers are working towards more solutions and methods daily, establishing the tangible possibility of building large scale from wood. For if pursued properly, wooden buildings have the potential to mitigate carbon levels, and reverse the sheer quantity of building-related emissions. A tree spends its whole life sequestering carbon, but if that tree burns or decays, it releases all of that stored up carbon. If trees are instead cut and sealed, we can build our future cities with trees sequestering the carbon produced by our current ones. But are wooden cities even possible? Architect Michael Green of Vancouver says “The Earth grows our food. The earth can grow our homes. It’s an ethical change that we have to go through.” My pursuit is to convince you of the great potential wooden engineering provides, and that Michael Green is right in his conviction. So I do not know if wooden cities are possible, but I do know that wooden skyscrapers are, and that alone is worth investigating. Using these buildings as case studies, along with material comparisons, and analysis, I am presenting an argument in favor of engineered wood’s potential.