Sensory Blinds

Autonomous Blinds is an experiment that I created to help me understand and explore the use of the electronic and programming world.  The project serves as a demonstrative exercise of what I’d like to do in future projects regarding the use of sensors to control an adaptive environment.

The Autonomous Blinds project employs an Arduino Uno micro-processor and electronic control circuitry, a step-servo motor, a photo resistor and a temperature sensor.  The blinds are designed to self-configured based on the intensity of incoming light and can also respond to changes in ambient temperature (or temperature of the glass).   By regulating the amount of light allowed into the interior of a home the associated heat can be controlled in an environmentally and eco-friendly manner.  The programming code is written in C++ using a formula designed to monitor the environment and respond  in a predictable and consistent fashion.

After a couple days of coding the project was up and running.  View test video HERE:

In this video, the blinds run through a test mode, fully opening and closing to establish servo drive limits.  Once the test is complete the program calculates servo positional data based on the temperature and light in a given space and then transmits a corresponding voltage to the servo motor to open or close the blinds.

After venturing into the coding world, I decided to recreate the project in a more familiar environment.  Using the Arduino Uno, Rhinoceros, Grasshopper, and Firefly I was able to devise a similar set of rules to control the blinds.

It is currently a work in progress, so the script written is a small portion of a potential larger project.  If you wish to discuss this project further, feel free to contact me at  I am currently unsure if the project will be developed any further, as I initially set out to bridge the knowledge gap between my major, architecture, and the electronic world.  If interested in taking this further, I’d be happy to assist.


Disney Competition

Every year Disney holds a competition open to nearly every collge student in the United States.  As an architecture student that has a passion for  open-thinking design I couldn’t have found a better competition.  The competition had no major rules, allowing each team to freely design in whatever direction they saw fit.

The image is a compiled representation of various work my team put together for the competition.  I lack any information regarding our presentation because the concept behind the design is still a work in progress.  In future posts I intend to fully enclose the project concept in addition to our entry material.

Website SneakPeak

Within the next week the website should be fully functional and ready to hit the internet!

For any confusion, the image is a rendering mimicking today’s architecture/ designers work space.  Hopefully, it will serve as a website highlighting my design work, interest and hobbies .   More information will follow as she is introduced to the internet in the near future.  I apologize for the poor quality, as the image was captured by my phone.

Emotional Cartography

PROJECT: Exploring Carbondale
LOCATION: Carbondale, Illinois

Our daily routines ignore a vast amount of information 
the world feeds us daily, primarily  because today’s 
world is always on the run, easily distracted, and
commonly manipulated.  The primary purpose 
behind this project was to enhance familiarily with 
the surrounding environment we unknowingly 
associate ourself with.  Our sences are the determining 
factor in the next decision, direction, and movement 
we make.  With this understanding, I seek to focus on 
visual aids, more importantly color and how it may 
control our environment.

Our sences subcounsicouly explore the surrounding
world while we unknowingly can be manipulated by
laid out signs and symbols.  Aware of the psychological
effects of color and how they control our actions and
reactions, I decided to venture into a dominant color
controlled scenario.  Downtown Carbondale, Il was
the starting location, each following step controlled
by  ‘that’ dominating color.       

This devised experiment becomes an analysis tool to
better formulate theories subjective to our immediate
surrounding and the dominant colors found with in
them.  Designed for user interpretation, forcing each
indivisual to formulate a hypothesis based on color
and whether or not it unintentional or purposely
finds itself into our life.
Do we live in a:
		- Color dictated environment?
		- Environment dictated by color?

DAtE Competition

Design Against the Elements is a response to the problems brought about by the global concern of climate change and disaster readiness. However, the initiative has roots in, and grows beyond, the mere conditions of climate change and its physical manifestations: it is also driven by a need to address poverty, socialized housing issues, urban planning problems, and the country’s limited resources.


Design Against the Elements is a global architectural design competition meant to find a solution to the problems presented by climate change. Spurred by the devastation wreaked in the Philippines by tropical storm Ondoy (Ketsana) and driven by a powerhouse multidisciplinary group of organizations from the private, institutional, and government sectors, the project aims to draw together the most innovative minds in the fields of architecture, design, and urban planning to develop sustainable and disaster-resistant housing for communities in tropical urban settings.

Location: Manila, Philippines.

This project serves as a solution to the poverty crisis in terms of sustainable design posed by the Design Against the Elements competition.  Held in the fall of 2010, the following competition called for architects and related fields to derive a sustainable solution to combat the elements of nature.  Current building habits in low poverty areas take advantage of the most inexpensive materials and building methods.  This technique of building is highly vulnerable to the devastating forces of nature.  Floods, earthquakes, fires, high winds and typhoons show no mercy on poorly built design.  This leads to architects needing to focus on redeveloping a sustainable, efficient, and practical approach of devising safe housing for the less fortunate.

Project Goals

  • To foster local and global awareness on climate adaptability and its relevance to poverty alleviation. Disasters are setbacks to sustainable economic growth as well as human tragedies. Having safer structures “ahead of time” will not only lead to less casualties, displacement, and damage, but will empower communities to uplift their quality of life.
  • To build the first green, livable, affordable, and disaster-resistant village in the Philippines that will serve as the blueprint for other communities threatened by climate change.
  • To compile an encyclopedia of climate-resilient and affordable design solutions for urban poor communities.


My name is Donald Joseph Butera and I’m an aspiring architect that wishes to change tomorrow’s world through sustainable design.  I recently graduated from Southern Illinois University of Carbondale where I obtained a bachelors degree in Architecture.  I intend to continue my education at a reputable university, yet undecided.

Beyond formal courses of instruction, I have learned that I have developed a passion for the art of design.  The opportunity to design and create is as much an emotional connection as it is a collaboration of form, function and space through imaginative uses of color and visual compositions.  A design concept based on visual aesthetics that provides an intriguing yet inviting  landscape on which to build.

Throughout my education I have been involved in numerous team-building exercises including design charrattes, competitions, and in-class projects.  Working in a team is one of the greatest benefits an individual can gain, specifically in a design built environment.  Speaking from personal experience it has afforded me with the ability to communicate efficiently, manage decisions accurately, and allow each member of a group to develop intellectually.  As an enthusiastic learner that is dedicated to providing the most professional result, I will not stop short of anything undesirable.  My reputation of possessing a strong work ethic carries with it additional skills such as efficient management of time and organizational habits.  The design built environment has evolved my ability to properly bring forth satisfactory solutions to various design problems.

A Beginning

Welcome to a newly devised blog dedicated to showoff various projects that I have created.  The blog will highlight classroom work, competitions and independent research within the field of architecture.