Architecture Earth Day
It began over 30 years ago, as growing numbers became alarmed at the seemingly inevitable human-caused destruction of the planet. Since then, concerned citizens, scientists, politicians, and other professionals have gathered each April to celebrate "Earth Day" and to figure out ways to slow or reverse the damage.
Founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson and organized by national coordinator Denis Hayes, the first Earth Day began a tradition that, despite its successes, continues to grow in size and urgency every year.
Because the built environment is a major factor in planetary degradation, architects have a potentially huge role to play in solving some of the problems. This year, in the week of Earth Day, April 22, many architects are speaking out on ways they have discovered to continue to build while stepping more lightly on the earth.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) will set an example when, on April 16, its Committee on the Environment (COTE) will announce its picks for the years "Top Ten Green Projects."
ArchitectureWeek will celebrate the day by instituting a new editorial department. Beginning with the April 18, 2001 issue, the Environment department will feature stories about exemplary energy-conserving buildings, design techniques and construction materials for sustainable architecture, and other "green" issues.
We'll inaugurate our Environment department with features on the new buildings of two organizations in the environmental forefront: the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. We look forward to spotlighting many more such projects in the future.
The Philip Merrill Environmental Center, designed by the SmithGroup for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, achieved the highest rating of any office building by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Photo: David Harp/ Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Teams using "Vital Signs" tools will measure temperature, luminance, and other factors in the National Building Museum on Earth Day, 2001.
Photo: Alison Kwok
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