Campus & Community

Stevens Senior Links Sustainable Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright to Green Marketing for Senior Design Project

Stevens student Sean Kelley has had his eye on architecture for a while. The Visual Arts & Technology senior combined his studies in both design and marketing to examine sustainable architecture and the marketing practices of the green movement for his senior project.

“I have always enjoyed different kinds of architecture, and it felt fitting to explore sustainability and the green movement,” he said. “In today’s society, there is a big push for sustainable development as we are beginning to really notice the negative effects of our economic growth.” 

For the thesis component of his project, Kelley researched architect Frank Lloyd Wright and compared his aesthetic principles to United Nations policy documents regarding sustainability. He quickly found that Wright was able to foresee many of the issues regarding sustainability that society is facing today.

“In all of his designs, Wright looked for ways to reduce both the costs and energy used within the building,” he said. “By doing things like changing the roof color to white to reflect sunlight and keep insulation from overheating, or using a layer of grass atop the home and along the walls to regulate interior temperatures and collect natural rainfall, Wright was at the forefront of sustainability.”

Kelley also looked into Wright’s contributions to Organic Architecture, a design concept where form follows function and the building and its environment complement one another.

“Wright’s buildings were surprisingly adaptable to the environment in which they were built,” he said. “He found ways to build around the environment without disturbing it by using boulders and other materials that were already in place. It was clear that he thought of each building as a unified organism.”

For the project component of his project, Kelley created a mock branding and marketing firm, Nature’s Blueprint, which specializes in promoting eco-friendly products, services, and operations.

“I’ve been working on different logo ideas and a company portfolio to create the identity of Nature’s Blueprint,” he said. “This has been an interesting project because I am really combining my degree in Visual Arts & Technology with my minor in Marketing.”

Kelley credits his classes in market research and strategy, project management, digital imaging, and his involvement with the 2013 Solar Decathlon communications team with helping him to prepare for undertaking his thesis project.

“I was able to study aspects of marketing, architecture, and sustainability in most of my classes, which was a great help in assisting me both with the project and for my future career in project management,” he said.

After finishing his degree this May, Kelley will complete a Master’s in Management from Stevens, and plans to work as a project manager for a construction or architectural design company after he finishes graduate school next year.

To learn more about the Visual Arts & Technology program at Stevens, visit

About Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens Institute of Technology, The Innovation University®, is a premier, private research university situated in Hoboken, N.J. overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Founded in 1870, technological innovation has been the hallmark and legacy of Stevens’ education and research programs for more than 140 years. Within the university’s three schools and one college, more than 6,100 undergraduate and graduate students collaborate with more than 350 faculty members in an interdisciplinary, student-centric, entrepreneurial environment to advance the frontiers of science and leverage technology to confront global challenges. Stevens is home to three national research centers of excellence, as well as joint research programs focused on critical industries such as healthcare, energy, finance, defense and STEM education and coastal sustainability. The university is consistently ranked among the nation’s elite for return on investment for students, career services programs and mid-career salaries of alumni. Stevens is in the midst of a 10-year strategic plan, The Future. Ours to Create., designed to further extend the Stevens legacy to create a forward-looking and far-reaching institution with global impact.