Fall 2009

Our Latest Project Breaks Ground: NASA’s Sustainability Base
Last month, we attended a celebratory groundbreaking for Sustainability Base, a collaborative support facility at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. “We have designed this project to go beyond Platinum” and set new benchmarks for federal and NASA facilities. “When we started the design of ‘Sustainability Base’ with NASA, we were inspired by the statement ‘as only NASA can’,” says Kevin Burke, our design partner on the project. “It was clear that this was an opportunity to give form to the spirit of this phenomenal organization. Working with a wonderful team of collaborators, we’ve created a design that will combine the highest possible technical performance with wonderful experiences for the NASA community. This integrated design approach optimizes systems–air, light, water, energy, materials–in order to create a great place to work, supporting productivity and nurturing community and connectivity.”

According to Pete S. Worden, director of NASA Ames: “This new building represents NASA’s commitment to sustainability and improving the quality of life on the planet. Given the incorporation of the very latest NASA technologies, I like to think of it as the first lunar outpost on Earth.” Associate Director, Steve Zornetzer, notes that “When the Apollo astronauts looked back and saw the Earth, it was such an astounding image that it served as a touchstone for the whole environmental movement. In the spirit of what’s best for our country, we decided to focus on constructing the most energy-efficient building possible.” See a video about Sustainability Base

One Firm, Three Studios: We’ve Opened Our EU Doors
We have a new studio in the family. We’ve been working in Europe for years, and have seen opportunities there increase, as enthusiasm for Cradle to CradleSM has grown, especially in the Netherlands. No surprise that our EU home base is now in Amsterdam, in the country where some of our highest ambition Cradle to Cradle work is currently taking place. “We are thrilled to have a Netherlands studio as our European hub,” says Bill McDonough. “This enables us to work even more closely with those who value Cradle to Cradle and are collaborating with us to realize its potential.” We are also happy to note that EPEA, Michael Braungart’s international scientific research and consultancy institute headquartered in Hamburg, will be sharing our studio in Amsterdam, creating a real center for Cradle to Cradle activities in the Netherlands.

Cradle to Cradle Helps Make It Right in New Orleans
We have been a part of the pro bono Make It Right efforts in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans since the program kicked off in 2007, and we’re gratified to expand our role from member of the core team to designer of the Flow House Duplex prototype, part of the latest round of designs. “Make It Right is proving that good design can be affordable,” says William McDonough, “and it is an honor to be a part of this effort and to see Cradle to Cradle embedded in this replicable community revitalization.” Conceived as providing “eyes on the street”, Flow House is made up of a series of outdoor rooms that extend and expand interior living. Our design proposes limiting construction materials to use only those products that are in safe, closed-loop nutrient cycles. The structure’s component parts can be safely disassembled and returned to the Earth within biological cycles or to industry within technical cycles. We see the design of Flow House as an opportunity to inspire positive change in the construction industry, and to provide residents of the Lower 9th and other communities with ready access to affordable designs comprised of materials optimized in Cradle to Cradle cycles.

New Campus Library Opens in Pasadena
Fuller Theological Seminary has opened the David Allan Hubbard Library (below) on its Pasadena campus. The building, a a collaborative effort between our firm, House & Robertson Architects, and DPR Construction, honors the memory of David Allan Hubbard, theological scholar and past president of Fuller. Hubbard has been described as a man of “unlimitedperipheral vision,” a compelling idea woven into the design in several ways, most demonstrably in terms of window placement and sense of transparency that give the building its daylit interior. Kevin Burke, our design partner on the project, notes that the planned Worship Center (left) will create one side of the new “gateway” to the Pasadena campus. “The library and Worship Center are part of a longer overall engagement with Fuller. What began as an initial visioning exercise has evolved into a campus master plan [completed in 2006] and the design of these two gateway facilities. It has been incredibly rewarding to see an institution like Fuller define itself for the next 50 years, and to be a part of that process.” Check out a video from the opening here.

A Vision for the Future: A House Like a Tree
Last Spring, our studio was asked by The Wall Street Journal to conceptualize a vision for the home of the future. Our design team came up with a House Like a Tree–a design that generates energy and food on site, cleans its water, and regenerates habitat, among other things–all utilizing technologies and design strategies that are available today or on the near horizon. This is a home for a not too distant tomorrow; we are gratified to be using many of these design strategies and technologies on work for our residential clients today.

We have the great privilege to be involved in the planning and design for Milan’s Expo 2015—along with Herzog & De Meuron, Boeri Studio, Richard Burdett (with London School of Economics), and Joan Busquets (from Barcelona)—which will address the theme “Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life.” This universal topic is central to sustainability. Website Here (credit: Herzog & De Meuron)

Greenbridge, our mixed-use project in Chapel Hill, NC is featured in The National Building Museum’s Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture show which is currently touring. This show opened the academic year at Yale University, where it will be on view until October 15; it can also be seen now at the Virginia Center for Architecture in Richmond through November 29.Greenbridge is under construction and last month topped out.

The Cave Avenue Homes project in Banff, Alberta, was recently featured in Urban Land’s latest issue.

In Palo Alto, the VMware campus was completed when the Commons building finished construction.

The National Building Museum’s Green Community show is still in Washington through October 25; we’re honored that Hali’imaile, our project in Maui, is featured.

We led an international planning and engineering team in developing a master plan for the new community of North Innisfil in Ontario, Canada, to be developed by Minto Communities, Inc. The plan embodies an integrated and system-based design approach which includes innovative sustainable strategies for energy, water, and waste services. It has received favorable preliminary review from local and provincial agencies.

In June, our firm joined MVRDV, WEST 8, and local officials in presenting the concept report for the development of Almere Island to the Ministers of Transportation and Spatial Planning, Housing, and the Environment. Almere Island, a new island to be built in the IJmeer between the cities of Amsterdam and Almere, is a joint venture by the local, regional, and national governments to address urban regional growth. Plans for the new community, inspired by Cradle to Cradle, will undergo a rigorous national level review and approval process.

Early this year, firm leaders Kevin Burke and Diane Dale delivered a dualkeynote presentation in Utrecht to the Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch national agency that manages all water and roadway infrastructure in the Netherlands. They presented how Cradle to Cradle concepts are informing architecture and planning at a wide range of scales, particularly with regard to the use of water and energy.

The Sarah Heinz House, a project we worked on with Rothschild Doyno Collaborative, received an AIA Pittsburgh Chapter Award of Merit, with a jury citing the natural light properties as a particular strength: “The architect used sunlight to energize the function of the building. The jury also appreciated how this project energizes a whole neighborhood. By letting the neighborhood see what was happening inside the space, the barriers that kept the community away were broken down.”

Early this year, Mark Rylander, Director, keynoted the first Active Housing Round Table in Copenhagen about sustainable building components, design solutions, and architecture, combined with new low energy and zero carbon housing. Mark’s presentation entitled “Towards Cradle to Cradle Architecture: A Positive Agenda for Sustainable Design” discussed how building materials can be improved over time.

The Design Intelligence 2009 Sustainable Design Survey draws data from architecture and design firms throughout the United States, and findings included individuals and organizations that architects cite as role models of green and sustainable design. We are delighted to find our firm in the top five firms, and our founder, Bill McDonough, as number one in the individual category.

Mayor Newsom announced that California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, presented the City of San Francisco with the 2008 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award. The City received the award for its ambitious redevelopment plans for Treasure Island, on which we had a key sustainability consultant role, in the Sustainable Communities category. The project plans were recognized as exceptional for their breadth, environmental and economic impact, and value to California’s environment and economy.

Bill McDonough and Stephan Dolezalek of VantagePoint Venture Partners recently contributed an article entitled “The Carbon free Opportunity” for the McKinsey Quarterly–a dialog on the future of oil as a strategic commodity compared to renewable sources of energy.

Diane Dale gave a keynote address on Cradle to Cradle last week at the6th Conference on Roads and Regional Development in Sinaia, Romania. After this, she will present Cradle to Cradle principles and how they are being applied in the Netherlands at the national ASLA conference in Chicago: Regenerating Places and People.

Early this month, Kevin Burke spoke at the Cradle to Cradle conference that was part of Copenhagen’s Danish Design Week festivities, as did Michael Braungart.

Kira Gould, Assoc. AIA, Director of Communications, spoke at the American Institute of Architects convention in San Francisco in May; the panel, “Finding the Catalyst”, included Susan Ubbelohde of Loisos Ubbelohde; Kevin Hydes of the Integral Group; and Allison Arieff, who writes for The New York Times and Sunset. She also authored an article in Sustainable Industries’ latest issue, as well as a review in Architectural Record, and an opinion piece in the AIA New York Chapter’s Oculus. She also served, with Zem Joaquin of Eco-fabulous, Susan Szenasy of Metropolis, Pete O’Shea of Siteworks Studio, and others, as a juror for the One Good Chair competition.

Earlier this year, John Wheeler spoke in Pasadena, CA at the Art Center Summit 2009: Expanding the Vision of Sustainable Mobility. John was part of an alumni panel moderated by Kurt Anderson of NPR. John discussed the current state of practice in sustainable design. For a website link, click here.

Mark Rylander, Director, is now leading our consulting work. For 15 years, our firm has demonstrated that good design can restore ecological health, increase productivity, reduce operating expenses, and enhance customer and community relationships, all while balancing the realities of construction costs and capital investment. Our consulting offering helps teams to achieve these goals while focusing resources on the things that matter most. Mark’s connectivity with the research community, his capacity for systems thinking and familiarity with the latest technologies, and his holistic and practical approach to challenges make him a great fit for this new role.

Matthew Winkelstein, AIA, a Director in our West Coast studio in San Francisco, is now a LEED Accredited Professional.

Senior planner, Will Grimm, who works in our East Coast studio in Charlottesville, has recently passed the last of his architectural exams; he also became a LEED Accredited Professional.

Roger Schickedantz (right), a Director in Charlottesville who has been with the firm for 15 years, is one of the first accredited Green Roof Professionals who has interdisciplinary knowledge of best practices associated with green roof design and implementation; this accreditation is provided by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.

David Goehring is a Director leading our EU studio. He is an American architect who has been practicing in The Netherlands for the past four years with KOW Architects in Den Haag. Prior to this he was founding partner of Goehring Architects in Minneapolis for 10 years. An advocate of eco-performance design, Goehring states, “We look forward to delivering projects that go beyond high design and performance ambitions, focusing on measurable results. Here in The Netherlands, we have the expertise to deliver buildings that produce energy, and are truly in harmony with nature–all without the burden of excessive technology and associated steep life-cycle costs.”

Kees Noorman is Director of Business Development in our EU studio. He has been Project Director for Delta Project Park 20|20 in Hoofddorp, The Netherlands. Prior to this, his expertise in community development and finance stems from executive positions with the Amsterdam Port Authority, World Trade Center, and ING Bank. Noorman’s instincts and passion for high-ambition sustainability are key factors to his success in today’s business climate. Noorman: “There are tremendous opportunities in going beyond ordinary sustainability for developers and local governments in The Netherlands and Europe. We will be able to meet those opportunities and create new and inspiring solutions.”

Lisa Carnahan has joined the Charlottesville studio as a Marketing Coordinator. She has 17 years of experience in strategic marketing planning and execution, creative design and development, and writing. Her background includes seven years in the architectural industry and experience setting up two marketing departments, during which she developed operational procedures and other means of managing all stages of the marketing process effectively.

Mirjam Schmull has joined the EU studio in Amsterdam as an architect. She worked with Goehring at KOW-X; in addition to experience at several leading Netherlands firms, she has worked in China and Italty. She recently completed BREEAM training and has a passionate commitment to sustainable design and Cradle to Cradle. She was recently selected to the prestigious 2009 Netherlands Annual Think Tank that is focused on sustainability.

David Johnson will speak at West Coast Green in San Francisco on Friday, October 2, about Next Generation Design; he will talk about Cradle to Cradle design and the informed consumer.

Kevin Burke will be a juror for the DOE’s 2009 Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington in October, when 20 schools gather to test the best ideas in solar and sustainable design.

Mark Rylander will speak about Cradle to Cradle with MBDC’s Tish Tablan on the Mid-Atlantic Construction Specifications Institute event in Charlottesville on October 10.

Kevin Burke will be keynoting and Kees Noorman will be presenting at mid-October Cradle to Cradle seminars in Almere, the Netherlands, to government ministers and others.

At Greenbuild in November in Phoenix, Kevin Burke will be speaking about the NASA Sustainability Base project and Katherine Grove will be speaking about our work with Make It Right in New Orleans.

William McDonough and Michael Braungart will present their Cradle to Cradle design philosophy on October 6 in London, as a part of RIBA’s lecture series on architecture and climate change. William McDonough and Michael Braungart will also be keynoting and giving master classes at the Club of Rome events in Amsterdam on October 26 and 27.

Katherine Grove will also be speaking about Cradle to Cradle at a special Tulane University alumni event in November.

We are saddened by the loss of two sustainable design pioneers and amazing individuals–Greg Franta, FAIA, and Gail Lindsey, FAIA. Through professional associations (especially AIA Committee on the Environment) and projects, several of our team members had the extraordinary good fortune to think and play with both of these charismatic, visionary leaders. Their work, passion, and commitment inspires us and many others involved in the sustainable design movement and beyond.