Sustainability

Can "Oyster-Tecture" Actually Save Our Cities?

Oyster-tecture is one of several emerging practices that are shifting the way we think about infrastructure. The old ideals behind public works projects were focused only on enhancing people’s lives. Oyster-tecture provides needed services to people while also fostering vibrant,…

Nine Lives of Green

Recently at the Living Future event in Portland, Oregon, I had an opportunity to explore “lives of green” with eight other women working in the sustainable design space, as it is often called. We followed the Pecha Kucha format (my…

Racing Past a Gigawatt

The college experience,  a quintessential right of passage, has always been about camaraderie, experiences, and learning. Whether your experience was full of all-nighters, hair-pulling group projects, or last page computer crashes; in the end college prepares us for the “real…

Two Green Building Initiatives Go Way Beyond LEED

“Patchwork”, Living City Challenge Entry The sustainability rating systems—Passive House, Living Building Challenge, and Net Zero (a subset of the Challenge)—appear in isolated new construction projects. The promise and perversity of trying to pick out sustainability targets, building by building,…

Innovation for Hire

Courtesy SERA Architects and GDB Architects Disappointment has become an everyday feeling since 2008 for those of us in the design and construction fields, as we saw too many of our pet projects dematerialize. But the loss is especially painful…

Greening Landmark Buildings in NYC

“The greenest building is… one that’s already built.”  We have heard this before. It’s often spoken in response to the argument for shiny new buildings with LEED plaques in their lobbies. For those who advocate the reuse of buildings, especially…

From Passivhaus to Our Haus?

Why the funny title?  Well, I went to a conference a few weeks ago in Burlington, Vermont and came away wondering if the Passiv Haus movement is really accessible to the mainstream. The phrase is a play on words from…

Life, Edited.

The heyday of the McMansion has been on its way out for quite some time – perhaps more by economic circumstance than by fashion of choice – but Treehugger.com founder Graham Hill is out to actively sway our consumption preferences.…

You Are So Wrong, Frank Gehry!

The blogosphere is buzzing with Frank Gehry’s derogatory remarks about green design. In a recent public interview, the starchitect summarily dismissed the movement that’s working to make the built environment more responsive to our deteriorated natural environment. With buildings known…

Bending the Reeds

Eric Chan’s bamboo armchair is not only a tribute to his native country, it’s a primer on the physical properties of one of our most renewable materials.