7 January 2010 | Posted inSustainable Design
Posted by Emma
When Anica is not doing the New York Times crossword, blogging on here, or teaching at Roger Williams University she is HOK’s very own globe-trotting ‘greenest greenie’ (as he Life@HOK biog says!). I say the first activity in jest, as although based in HOK’s DC office, this girl is so in demand and is so committed to our work that she is hard to pin down to being in one country for more than 24 hours! We love her dearly, her incredible passion for our work and how we can incrementally improve our world.
So here goes, this is how our Anica answered my questions:
Q: What is your role at HOK?
I lead a sustainability consulting group. We work as a consultant to develop green design guidelines or assist in green building policy implementation (e.g. for Washington DC), we have written the new GSA Sustainable Development and Principles Guide, and are constantly working with clients who want to green their existing real estate portfolios or single buildings, engage building occupants or develop infrastructure to support more sustainable operations. We also provide in-house LEED administration and integrated design support to our project teams.
Q: You travel a lot. Do you enjoy that?
Yes and no. Part of that is my fault – I am teaching a graduate level sustainable design course every fall at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island (some classes are taught remotely to minimize footprint). But projects take me to Glasgow, Dammam, London, Atlanta, New York, etc. And I speak at a lot of conferences or events. It is exciting but also exhausting. I also sometimes really need to connect with an overseas team in person at least once to feel confident that we can communicate and successfully achieve our sustainability goals. I enjoy seeing my projects go up in person, and experiencing a culture and climate help me to make better recommendations for sustainable design on that site.
Q: What are you most proud of?
I am so proud of the work we’ve done with the District of Columbia on implementing their green building legislation. The DC Green Building Act covers many building types, including schools and affordable housing. The equity side of sustainability is so seldom addressed and to help DC achieve this is really gratifying. I am mostly just proud of what DC has accomplished and grateful to be a part of it.
Q: How do you see the integration of sustainability at HOK developing in the next 5 years?
As with all major architecture firms in the world, I think our architects are going to have to understand loads a lot more and work with energy modelers and engineers to design more efficient envelopes and massing. We’ve reached an era where we can no longer put the responsibility solely on MEP engineers to achieve energy efficiency. I know we’re developing a full range of engineering and analytic skills at HOK that will help our practice become more robust in sustainability. Also, the economic situation has really changed the focus of the building industry. We’re going to have to pay a lot more attention to existing buildings, how they operate and how occupants use them. We will very likely learn a great deal that will inform the next generation of high performance design… aaaaaand I think water is going to be the next big issue. It will probably surpass carbon and GHG emissions in terms of immediate importance. Our planning/landscape group will be working on a lot more water management projects; our architects will be integrating water capture and reuse into building design.
Q: When are you most satisfied in your job?
When my clients are happy; when we’ve become friends even after a project is long over.