Architecture Earth Day
Bringing the Message to Washington
One group of architects is marking Earth Day both symbolically and scientifically. Members of the Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE) will be taking measurements at the venerable National Building Museum, in Washington D.C., to determine its thermal and luminous qualities.
Throughout the day, participants will evaluate the building's performance in daylighting, thermal stratification, visual comfort, and air movement. This exercise is an outgrowth of the Vital Signs Curriculum Materials Project, which teaches architecture students how to measure interior environments in all their complexity.
Hosting the analysis project will be the museum's executive vice-president Martin Moeller and professors Alison Kwok, from the University of Oregon, Bruce Haglund, University of Idaho, and Walter Grondzik, Florida A&M. Kwok will explain the procedures and their rationale in next week's issue of ArchitectureWeek.
Also in Washington, "Forum 2001: Solar Energy: The Power to Choose" will be a five-day event to explore practical solutions for the adoption of solar power and other renewable energy sources. This conference is scheduled every four years to bring important grassroots messages to a new presidential administration.
FORUM 2001 integrates the annual conferences of the American Solar Energy Society, the 26th National Passive Solar Conference, the AIA's COTE Symposium, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International Solar Energy Conference, and SOLTECH 2001.
Keynote speakers at Forum 2001 will be Sam Wyly, a pioneering entrepreneur who will discuss marketing "green" electricity by converting utility monopolies to free markets and architect Ed Mazria of Mazria Riskin Odems Inc., an internationally recognized expert in climate-responsive design.
Earth Day Events Nationwide
All over the country, architects will be spreading the word about their many and varied approaches to sustainable design.
Earth Day New York, actually scheduled for May 1-2, will focus on environmentally responsible solutions to anticipated electricity shortages; financial incentives that underwrite energy efficiency, renewables, and resource conservation; and programs and tools available to help achieve high-performance buildings.
Acknowledging the importance of considering a building's entire life cycle in the energy calculation, Earth Day New York, subtitled, "Buildings, Economics & the Environment," will offer workshops in two separate tracks, one for designers and developers, and the other for building owners and managers. The emphasis will be on how saving energy and protecting the environment can also be financially beneficial.
A continent away from that metropolis, architecture students at the University of Oregon are planning a conference with a different theme. "Fostering Environmental Literacy," the seventh annual Eco-Design Arts Conference will look at the role of designers in nurturing relationships between people and their global ecosystems.
Their conference activities will include a design charrette, lectures on the principles of sustainable architectural and landscape design, and workshops on alternative building technologies such as bamboo construction and small-scale photovoltaics.
One of several keynote speakers will be Lori Ryker, from Montana State University, who will describe The Remote Studio. As its director, her goal is to teach architecture students how creative acts can be inspired by first-hand experiences in the natural world.
Following the lead of the Rural Studio of Samuel Mockbee, the Remote Studio immerses students in the Montana wild lands where they explore ecological design through a design/build project for a client.
The Greening of Seattle
Architects in Seattle will celebrate with their "What Makes it Green?" conference on sustainability. The AIA Seattle COTE and the City of Seattle will cosponsor an exhibition of regional "green" buildings and seminars focusing on sustainability in building industry practices.
Keynote speaker Pliny Fisk III, director of the Center For Maximum Potential Building Systems (CMPBS) in Austin, Texas, will talk about "Architecture as if the Future Mattered."
CMPBS is a an architecture firm that specializes in open building systems incorporating life cycle design and ecologically balanced land use master planning. They also develop sustainable guidelines and policies, educational materials, and environmental benchmarking tools.
Fisk will present three built CMPBS projects that demonstrate how a building can meaningfully contribute to the needs of a sustainable World, using rigorous sustainable design protocols but without limiting creativity.
He and a panel of experts will discuss regional buildings that integrate environmentally responsible design methods and materials. One panelist is David E. Miller FAIA, partner of The Miller/Hull Partnership. A frequent lecturer on environmental design, Miller has been the design partner on award-winning "green" projects such as the Patagonia Headquarters.
Patagonia wanted its new distribution center and office facility to reflect the environmental policies and goals of their organization. Landscaping has begun to heal a "brown-field" site, energy efficiency was key to architectural design and indoor air quality, and recycling was incorporated into redesigned packaging processes.
Other Seattle speakers will discuss major city projects being designed with the "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" (LEED) rating system. Tom Liptan, an environmental specialist with the City of Portland will talk about vegetated "green roofs," which offer great promise for environmentally benign storm water management.
ArchitectureWeek will present a substantial report on "What Makes it Green?" in early May. We look forward to further exploring these and related issues in our new Environment department beginning April 18.