Mason Burns’ ‘20 artistic endeavors include 3D architectural scale models, commissioned projects, and other works done for his own enjoyment, he said.
“It’s supposed to be making people happier at an affordable cost that’s not affecting the environment,” Burns said.
Burns is passionate about both climate change and architecture which has led to his desire to build sustainable model homes, he said. He hopes to create homes that provoke people to change their daily habits in order to lessen the impact on the environment. He is a strong advocate against climate change because to him it is the most important problem. Climate change can never be undone when it reaches its worst.
“I believe humans have the obligation to fix what they destroyed because we are simultaneously the smartest and dumbest,” Burns said. “It isn't until we realize our stupidity that we'll fix the problem, and until then, we're just fueling the flame.”
His contribution to building a sustainable future will be producing homes that don’t create excess waste, he said. He plans to create homes where everything designed is purposeful and efficient. Some examples include implementing floor-to-ceiling windows to save on the use of artificial lights, and building houses underground to provide a natural average temperature in the mid 60s, which would in turn lower heating and cooling costs and energy.
One of his architecture scale model he designed, named “Raðljost” which means “light to enter” in Icelandic, provides an abundance of natural light, he said. He uses natural colors and resources such as bamboo flooring and lighter colored concrete. The home is designed to be low maintenance for the owners.
“It is entirely possible to design a building to be pleasing to the eye, environmentally friendly, economical, and change a person's habits leading to a higher happiness status,” he said.
Burns also wants reusable materials like shipping containers to be made into homes, he said. His wants to employ them in underdeveloped countries with high plastic pollution like Africa, India and Vietnam. This fits into his belief that everyone deserves to have a nice home.
“I've designed cargo homes, schools, libraries and grocery stores all in the interests of minimalism to save money for these regions and looking at environmental and economic factors,” Burns said.
He doesn’t want to give up drawing and pursuing other artforms; he is instead incorporating them in his homes, he said. In his art, he focuses on individual portraits inspired by the Renaissance.
In his portrait work he focuses on the personalities and emotions of people, he said. He takes an introspective and puzzle-solving approach with his art.
“Art is the method [of expression] that I like and use to express other things and other people,” Burns said.