I’m live blogging from GreenBuild Chicago

I’ll be attending the Expo, to check out all the green products and services available to me as an architect.  I got here very early, to avoid the lines.   The number of attendants has far exceeded what was planned for.  This is excellent in many ways, but has obviously been a hurdle for the event planners to manage. 

I will only be attending the expo, but my partner in crime is attending a number of classes this week, and so he’ll report on a variety of topics, including Sustainable Residential Development in Canada and building Green Communities.


Dwell On Design Conference

I’ve added some new links to the blog roll, and a new category, Projects – a listing of websites and blogs for green projects of all scales, some of which I cover with some frequency.

Green Building Blocks where you can learn about a wide range of green building products, find green professionals in your area and much more

Perfect City blog where they’re discussing the future of our cities.

Find out the latest architectural news at The Floating Podium

Added under the Projects heading:

WIRED LivingHome

Dumbo NYC, Brooklyn

Atlantic Yards

With so much talk and importance of all things green, it was becoming increasingly difficult to judge what green really meant. So, a number of years ago, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) was formed and developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System to quantify ‘green’. Now LEED is the “nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.” Today, a number of project specific LEED certifications are available, including New Commercial Construction and Major Renovations, Commercial Interiors, Homes and Neighborhood Development. You can search the USGBC Registered Projects directory here for projects in your area.


111 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL – Gold LEED Core & Shell

Numerous government agencies are requiring LEED ratings for major projects to be allowed to go forward. The United States General Services Administration (GSA) Public Building Service (the government body that oversees federal buildings in design, construction and maintenance) requires LEED certification (at a minimum) for new and major renovation projects and encourages the pursuit of LEED Silver rating. One current LEED Gold rated federal building is the Byron G. Rogers U.S. Courthouse in Denver, Colorado, shown below.

Each version of LEED assigns points in a variety of areas, with minimum thresholds set for each rating level to be achieved (registered, certified, silver, gold, and platinum). Let’s take the New Construction and Major Renovations (LEED_NC) as an example. The project checklist identifies the following areas: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation & Design Process. Each of those areas have anywhere from 2 to 25 opportunities to earn credits towards any given rating. For further reading, I suggest exploring the extensive USGBC website.

A number of high profile projects are pursuing LEED ratings.


Atlantic Yards is pursuing LEED certification for all residential buildings and LEED Silver rating for the stadium.

Federal Building in San Francisco is pursuing a Silver rating

American architect Frank Gehry has become what so many young architects dream of – well known in the field as well as to the general public (rare – the only other really being Frank Lloyd Wright), successfully and repeatedly carrying out his own vision of architecture, as well as ample opportunities to design beyond buildings.
In 1978 Gehry completed his own Santa Monica House. Early on in his career, he worked in more common materials, on a few occasions even incorporating chain link fence into the design. “Personally, I hate chain link. I got involved with it because it was invevitably being used around my buildings. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”, Gehry has stated on numerous occasions
FOG Residence

Gehry Santa Monica residence
1989 Pritzker Prize Laureate, Frank Gehry has since continued his pursuit of sculptural form in architecture. Working in what many call postmodern architecture, he is constantly pursuing his vision, which in many ways transcends a particular style. This pursuit is actually very modern – Gehry is working in his own language, developing it, testing it in every work that gets built. He is not inventing a new architecture every morning. He his committed to developing his vision of creating joyful architecture.
In 1997, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain was completed. Almost overnight, it became THE destination. This work secured Gehry in the annals of architectural and cultural history.
FOG bilbao

Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain
So significant was this work of architecture, the Bilbao effect began to occur. Many cities clamored for a Gehry. The Simpsons even featured Gehry in an episode.
FOG Simpsons

Gehry, on The Simpsons
In the decade since Bilbao, Gehry has been busy. Some furniture,


FOG TIffany

Selection of Gehry-designed pieces at Tiffany and Co.
and more and more architecture…

FOG Chicago

Chicago Millenium Park Pritzker Pavillion

One of the major projects he and his office has on the boards, Atlantic Yards.


Atlantic Yards, model of “Miss Brooklyn”

Still working at full force at 78, Frank Gehry is an icon of our age. His body of work is unlike anything that came before. His passion for joyful architecture is inspiration for young architects. Though it is at this time unclear the effect Gehry’s sculptural forms will have on the future of architecture, it has surely made its impact on architectural and cultural history.

Green Bean tells us more about John Ronan‘s Gary Comer Youth Center here.

I’ve begun reading Toward a Bioregional State: A Series of Letters About Political Theory and Formal Institutional Design in the Era of Sustainability by Mark D. Whitaker whose blog associated with the text can be found here. I also came across Sustainability through Permaculture , “Exploring the meaning and significance of sustainability and various sustainability initiatives and how they relate to urban permaculture in the midwest.”

ArchiBlogs – The portal of blogs about architecture

BldgBlog – architectural conjecture:: urban speculation :: landscape futures

Built Environment Blog – Thoughts on Places

A Daily Dose of Architecture – (Almost) Daily musings on architetcture

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