Page E1.1 . 18 December 2002                     
ArchitectureWeek - Environment Department
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    Green Builders Convene

    by Brian Libby

    With sustainable design commanding an ever-greater presence in mainstream architecture, timing could not have been better for the inaugural Green Building International Conference and Expo of the U.S. Green Building Council.

    Held in Austin, Texas in November, 2002, the conference brought together over 2,000 architects, builders, scientists, ecologists, and other sustainability-minded professionals. Featuring approximately 100 different seminars over three days, the conference delivered expertise and experience from a wide variety of persons and places.

    The conference began with an impassioned speech from award-winning Vancouver author and scientist David Suzuki, who described how our collective "ecological footprint" now exceeds nature's annual capacity to replenish renewable resources. "Today we have unprecedented levels of wealth," Suzuki said, "and yet we have to have more. No one asks how much is enough."

    Suzuki described cities as a "great disconnector," giving citizens a "fractured lens" for viewing the beauty and sacredness of nature. "We are fundamentally spiritual beings," he said. "We need to feel a connection to nature. We need to have sacred places."

    Developer Shines Green

    Part of the mission of the conference seemed to be to dispel the idea that only a few building types are capable of being "green." Evidence of the broad applicability of these design strategies is the EcoWorks development near Kansas City, Kansas. It is the first speculative office project in the United States to achieve LEED certification from the USGBC.   >>>

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    The EcoWorks development by Gastinger Walker Harden Architects is the first speculative office project in the United States to achieve LEED certification.
    Photo: 2002 Mike Sinclair

    ArchWeek Image

    Lobby in one of the EcoWorks office buildings.
    Photo: 2002 Mike Sinclair

     

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