Living Green

Eco Evolution

Michael Gosney

Eco Evolution – Green Architecture: Transforming the Built Environment

With Jerry Tierney, Architect
Sustainably designed buildings and cities involve more than better solar panels and the use of recycled materials, as this conversation with green architect Gerry Tierney reveals. The trend toward green building in major cities across the country and world is becoming less a movement than the norm. There are many ways to design environments and, importantly, lifestyles that contribute to the sustainability equation, while also saving money and improving health. From mandated green Federal and State buildings, to sustainably renovated military bases, to growing numbers of infill projects in urban regions transforming industrial “brownfields” into certified green buildings, the change is well underway. Tierney, who is with the acclaimed international architecture group Perkins + Will, is the lead designer of a recent project in Oakland, California: a 55-unit low income housing complex that has a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building council, the highest designation given for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.” His description of this trail-blazing project, and the “transformational design” philosophy that guided its development, offers numerous insights into the many dimensions required to address true sustainability in our homes, communities, “eco-districts” and bioregions. Given the range of major green projects developed by Perkins + Will and his own experience as an architect, Tierney’s observations on the broader reality of greening the built environment are highly informative.