Archive for the ‘Sustainable Design’ Category

Scaling up Sustainability at Gulf Coast Green

AIA Houston’s Gulf Coast Green Symposium celebrated its 10 year anniversary last week with an all-day conference focused on Healthy Communities – Vitality in Place making.

Kotwal-Christenson-EventsZach Christeson and I along with USGBC’s Jason Hercules had the opportunity to present at the conference discussing sustainability at the community scale.  Our 80 minute session titled ‘Design for Healthy and Livable Communities: Integrating LEED for Neighborhood (ND), with the help of HOK case studies, focused on the LEED ND rating system as a framework for sustainable development.

While many cities worldwide are getting better and better at green building, the problems of suburban sprawl and lack of environments conducive to physical activity …

HOK Sports + Recreation + Entertainment Sustainability Leader Chris DeVolder Presents at USGBC Georgia’s 2015 Meeting

A sold out crowd of over 200 USGBC members filled the room at the Georgia World Congress Center on to hear HOK’s Chris DeVolder speak alongside Jennifer Ball, Vice President of Planning and Economic Development for Central Atlanta Progress and Tim Trefzer, Sustainability Manager for the Georgia World Congress Center, on sustainability initiatives and achievements in downtown Atlanta.

USGBC GA 2015 Annual Meeting E

Chris’ portion of the presentation highlighted the industry leading sustainable strategies being implemented on the New Atlanta Stadium, which is striving to reach the highest level of LEED certification that any professional sports facility has ever achieved. As the sustainability director for the project, …

ARTIC Grand Opening

2014 was a fantastic year for me.  My architecture fraternity, Alpha Rho Chi, celebrated 100 years of existence, I became a California licensed architect, and I finished my first building, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), from start to finish with the VIP Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Monday, Dec. 8 and the General Public Grand Opening on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014.

IMG_6724 IMG_6738 IMG_6741 IMG_6749 IMG_6759

HOK’s Net Zero Water Ideation Event: Designing Our Future Through Creative Partnership

Dozens of California communities are starting to dry up. No, they’re not banning alcohol – they’re rapidly running out of water. In response, HOK’s San Francisco office recently hosted a cross-disciplinary, one-day workshop tackling this major problem with the goal of generating actionable ideas for small cities seeking a more resilient water supply.

Brian Jencek, HOK’s design director for planning and landscape architecture for the West Coast region, presents the prototypical case study of “Springfield by the Sea,” a coastal community that is running out of water.

From NASA scientists to environmental non-profit leaders, the event was attended by a group of field-leading experts on scientific research, art, policy, engineering and venture capital from …

HOK Net-Zero Energy Design Competition: D-breath


Four designers from HOK’s Beijing office – Philip Kwong, Yuhai Cheng, Xiaoqian Yang and Summer Su – entered the firm-wide Net-Zero Design Competition as the team “D-breath.”

The net-zero competition challenged HOK’s teams to create a conceptual net-zero energy design for a building on a site in their local community. Teams were required to use HOK’s Sustainable Analysis Tool to obtain climate data, set energy use intensity (EUI) targets and estimate the size of on-site renewable energy systems required to reach net-zero energy.

The D-breath team designed a public medical office northeast of the 2nd Ring Road in Beijing, where there is a massive air pollution problem. The site sits quietly in the neighborhood of the famous Linked Hybrid …

HOK Net-Zero Energy Design Competition Winner: soLAr


Five designers from HOK’s Los Angeles office – Jessica Ginther, Frank Cauthen, Jamila Valero, Zach Capehart and Kris Surichamorn – competed in the firm-wide Net Zero Design Competition as the team “soLar.”

The net-zero competition challenged HOK’s teams to create a conceptual net-zero energy design for a building on a site in their local communities. Teams were required to use HOK’s Sustainable Analysis Tool to obtain climate data, set energy use intensity (EUI) targets and estimate the size of on-site renewable energy systems required to reach net-zero energy.

The soLar team designed a mixed-use building on a site in downtown Los Angeles. The team’s design won first place in the internal HOK …

HOK Net-Zero Energy Design Competition: Feedback Hydronics

Feedback Hydronics_800

Five designers from HOK’s St. Louis office – Brian Ballok, Lauren Field, Christoph Ibele, Brad Liebman and Leslie Wheeler – competed in the firm-wide Net Zero Design Competition as the team “Feedback Hydronics.”

The net-zero competition challenged HOK’s teams to create a conceptual net-zero energy design for a building on a site in their local communities. Teams were required to use HOK’s Sustainable Analysis Tool to obtain climate data, set energy use intensity (EUI) targets and estimate the size of on-site renewable energy systems required to reach net-zero energy.

The Feedback Hydronics team chose to design a culinary school on a site south of downtown St. Louis in the LaSalle …

Building Codes and Rating Systems: Carrots or Sticks?

Thanks to Anica Landreneau, director of Sustainable Consulting, for this guest post.

Landreneau Anica EventsGreenbuild is always a great time to meet up with clients, peers and industry leaders while learning about the latest developments in LEED certification, product manufacturing and performance standards.  I went to Greenbuild to do all of those things, but also to speak on a panel about the District of Columbia’s adoption of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). My fellow panelists were Fulya Kocak, director of sustainability at Clark Construction, and Dave Epley, green building and sustainability coordinator for the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).

In 2006, Washington, DC, passed the Green

ARTIC Construction Update

It’s been a while since I’ve updated on the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center aka ARTIC….

Last you have all seen, we were at the topping out ceremony… But we are getting to the home stretch..

All the ETFE have been inflated, trees are getting planted, finishes are getting installed, this is when we really get busy!

But in the meantime, let’s get a side by side comparison on what we designed and what is actually getting built!

The arrival





Future location of ARTIC’s first tenantThe Lost Bean.

LEED Lessons Learned at Healthcare Design Conference

Kim Shinn and I presented a session on lessons learned from the first three years of LEED for Healthcare at Greenbuild 2013. The session and the research we conducted before and after it was extremely valuable for everyone involved.  We’ve been accumulating lessons learned based on “war stories” from people in our networks and from our own projects. This presentation opened up a big can of worms that we’ve decided not to shut — we’re currently preparing a “deep dive” workshop at Healthcare Design Conference in November 2014 and a LEEDuser webcast for winter 2015.

05_Healing Garden_120725_Final
The Hospital Replacement Wing at Ventura County Medical Center is targeting LEED for Healthcare Silver

St. Louis Team Volunteers at Habitat for Humanity Site

Ten St. Louis HOK staff members recently participated in a Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis build in Spanish Lake, Missouri. The HOK team worked on two of the five homes on the site, where the investment of a little sweat equity helped two soon-to-be homeowners get one step closer to settling into their new residence.

Back row from left: Marketing Manager Jill Davis, Technical Principal Angelo Arzano, Regional Leader of Planning Jeff Davis, Travel Consultant Gina Werkmeister, Ken Werkmeister, Marketing Principal Lance Cage. Front row from left: Interior Design Professional Mackenzie McCulloch, Field Representative Bruce Fraser, Senior Project Architect David Camp.

Back row from left: Marketing

HOK Design Wins Chicago Living Building Challenge Competition

Designers from HOK’s Chicago office recently won the 2014 School Annex Design Competition created by the Living Building Challenge Collaborative Chicago (LBCCC). The LBCCC hopes this competition will encourage the development and construction of a fully certified Living Building in Chicago.

Project Location: Eli Whitney Elementary School Project Location: Eli Whitney Elementary School

HOK team members:Lindy McAra, Justin Warner, Meredith McBride, Olia Miho, and Farid Pour were tasked with designing the ultimate, sustainable classroom building to annex the overcrowded Eli Whitney Elementary School on Chicago’s southwest side.

From Left: Lindy McAra, Justin Warner, Meredith McBride, and Olia Miho From Left: Lindy McAra, Justin Warner, …

ARTIC Topping Out Ceremony

“Why do you want to become an architect?”

This was the question asked by my first year professor at USC on the very first day of studio.

My answer?

“To see my ideas turn into reality. To have sense of pride knowing that I helped create something that has a lasting effect on others. To see a building come to life from beginning of design to end of construction.”

Well this February (I know… it’s a little late), I really really developed that sense of pride when my project, ARTIC, crossed a major milestone – the last piece of steel was placed on my project.


It has been a long journey. It …

HOK’s Julia Monk on the Future of Sustainable Hotel Design

This interview by Rahim Kanani originally appeared on

In an interview with Julia Monk, Senior Vice President and Director of Hospitality Interiors at HOK—a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm—we discussed the concept of sustainable design, the kinds of lessons she’s learned over the years as it relates to design that incorporates environmental and social dimensions, where the sector is heading over the coming years, and much more.

Julia Monk Headshot

Rahim Kanani: What inspired you to enter the world of hospitality, architecture and design?

Julia Monk: I had two heroes when I was growing up: my dad and my aunt. My dad was an architectural and civil engineer who encouraged …

HOK’s Alan Bright Elevated to AIA’s College of Fellows


Alan Bright, FAIA, design principal in HOK’s San Francisco office, has been elevated to the prestigious College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects 2014 Jury of Fellows. According to the AIA, the Fellowship program “honors architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession.” Alan becomes one of only about 3,000 members of the 80,000 AIA members to receive this honor.

Since joining HOK in 1984, Alan has dedicated his career to transforming the design of justice facilities, aviation, healthcare, civic, commercial and science and technology facilities.

“Alan Bright is improving the practice of architecture …

Celebrating 20 Years of the US Green Building Council: LEED Then and Now


King Abdulah University of Science and Technology is one of the largest LEED Platinum projects in the world. Photo: Jean Picoulet

I have a vivid memory of an architecture professor telling me that thinking about sustainability was a waste of time – no one outside academia would bother with that kind of silly obsession. This was Missouri in the 1990s, when a gallon of gas cost less than a dollar and “green” was a paint color. I stubbornly pushed onward despite the disparagement – as I am prone to doing – …

HOK in Toronto: Designing Astana 2017


In the early summer of 2013, HOK was invited to participate in a design competition for the 2017 Expo Design in Astana – the rapidly developing capital of Kazakhstan.   The theme for the expo; “Future Energy”, challenged entrants to demonstrate the use of innovative technologies capable of affecting people’s perception of energy and green development.

In order to submit the most stunning and creatively adroit entry possible, a multidisciplinary team from the HOK Toronto office made up of Landscape Architects, Urban Planners, Architects, and experts in Sustainable Design, worked closely with equivalently talented engineering teams from ARUP and RWDL.

Inspired by the traditional assemblies of Kazakh tribes, the core concept of the design …

Mara Baum Named a LEED Fellow

Mara Baum_lowres

Mara Baum, HOK’s Healthcare Sustainable Design Leader, has been elevated to the LEED Fellow class of 2013 by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

According to the USGBC, the LEED Fellow program “designates the most exceptional professionals in the green building industry.” Mara becomes one of only 128 Fellows – a very small percentage of the approximately 180,000 LEED professionals across the globe. The LEED Fellow is a relatively new honor; this year’s cohort represents only the third class of Fellows. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum of a 10-year history of “exceptionality” across four of five dimensions of green building: technical proficiency, leadership, education and mentoring, commitment and service, and …

HOK Partners with USGBC on Building Health Initiative

Medical Icon blue crop

Yesterday the US Green Building Council Northern California Chapter announced its Building Health Initiative, in partnership with HOK and 26 other organizations. This program kicks off with a two year “Building Health Challenge” intended to put the spotlight on health and wellness as key aspects of green building. The challenge will require HOK and other participants to implement key actions and programs in support of human health that are intended to help transform the market.

We are excited to be participating in this groundbreaking initiative, which will focus on goals such as peer and client education, health and wellbeing research, and material ingredient transparency tools such as …

Paul Woolford on How Biomimicry Inspired the Design of the San Francisco Museum at the Mint

Thanks to Paul Woolford, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP BD+C, design director in HOK’s San Francisco office, for this post describing the vision for the San Francisco Museum at the Mint adaptive reuse project, which will be one of the country’s most environmentally innovative museums.

This once was a working metal factory that produced gold and silver bars and coins. There also was a public function where people exchanged gold or silver dust for coins and bars.

To organize the building program, we swept away all the unfortunate interventions that had altered the building since the federal government stopped using it as a mint in the 1930s. To understand how the renovated building …

Paul Woolford: How Biomimicry Inspired the Design of NOAA’s Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center in Hawaii

Thanks to Paul Woolford, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP BD+C, design director in HOK’s San Francisco office, for this post describing the design of the new National Oceanic at Atmospheric Administration campus in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Scheduled to open in December, this will be one of the country’s most environmentally innovative national historic landmarks. Paul and WSP engineer Todd See will speak on, “NOAA Pacific: Preserving the Past, Sustaining the Future” on Tuesday, July 23 from noon–1:00 pm PT, as part of the AIA’s DESIGN[realized] series.

Our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center project is in Honolulu on Oahu’s Ford Island, where the Pearl Harbor attacks occurred.

When it opens later …

Ottawa Office Haiti Lunch Fundraiser a Success

On May 10, HOK’s Ottawa office hosted a lunch fundraiser in support of Project Haiti. Lynn Ferron, Ottawa’s Sustainable Leader, organized this event, setting the stage for a lovely afternoon. Lynn was inspired by the creation of Project Haiti, its development, and all those dedicated to its realization, many of whom are passionate volunteers who have devoted much of their personal time to the redesign of the Orphanage and Community Center in Port-au-Prince.

In the same spirit, the Ottawa office worked together in support of the fundraising effort, approaching grocery stores for gift card donations, and ingredients for a pot-luck at the office. Several HOK foodies cooked up …

Time IS Money

Imagine going to a lecture hall that automatically transforms into a banquet hall with minimal human effort.

This is truly an option at the the Plenary Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Recently a guest from Australia enlightened me….so I am excited to pass this along. Check out this place out in action!

YouTube Preview Image


Q+A: Todd Bertsch, Design Director for HOK in Atlanta

When he was six years old, Todd Bertsch, AIA, moved with his family to Atlanta from Pocatello, Idaho. Through what he calls “serendipity,” Todd never left. He earned his architecture degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and has spent his entire professional career in Atlanta. In 2008, he joined HOK as design director in our Atlanta office.

Todd and his wife, also an architect, live with their 11-year-old daughter in a house they designed together near Piedmont Park in Atlanta’s vibrant Virginia Highland neighborhood.

“I have seen Atlanta undergo a tremendous transformation over the past 30 years,” says Todd. “It is still young compared to Paris or …

1,000 Days without a Car: A Transformation of Transportation

It has been nearly one thousand days since Earth Day 2010.  I’m proud to be part of a firm that celebrates this day as passionately as we do.  It means something.  Our belief in and commitment to sustainability is unparalleled amongst our competition.  Every year we campaign and rally around our messages as if an election was at stake.  We’ve turned the lights out.  We’ve recharged.  We go above and beyond to prove to the world that we care about the world.  I like this.

One thousand days ago, it was this passion and commitment that drove me to stop driving.  On Earth Day 2010, I sold my car.  For many of …

Q+A: Kenneth Drucker, Design Director for HOK in New York

Like a proud father, Kenneth Drucker, FAIA, notes that two of his New York team’s projects that began more than half a decade ago have opened in recent months: Harlem Hospital’s new Mural Pavilion and a replacement hospital for the University Medical Center at Princeton.

While keeping an eye on all of the projects coming out of HOK’s New York studio, Ken is also designing a headquarters for Korean energy company Samchully in Seoul and the Singapore Chancery infill building in Manhattan. He recently began design of a new ambulatory care center for New York-Presbyterian Hospital on a prominent Upper East Side site. Finally, he just returned …

Guest Post: Why I Support LEED

In this guest post, HOK Director of Sustainable Design Mary Ann Lazarus responds to a recent USA Today report by providing her take on the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building Rating Systems.

USA Today just published a pair of articles about green building that are critical of the USGBC and the LEED rating system.

As early adopters of LEED, we are big supporters of this rating system. Since the late 1990s, we have watched it trigger a remarkable transformation toward designing and building more environmentally responsible buildings. This includes contributing to a broad public awareness about the importance of sustainable design.

LEED has sparked the development of completely new …

See You @Greenbuild 2012: Nov. 14-16 in San Francisco

Greenbuild 2012, the world’s largest green building conference, is coming to San Francisco Nov. 14-16.

This year’s social media focus brings together technology and sustainability to advance the green movement. You can follow HOK’s activities on Twitter at @HOKNetwork. Be sure to also check out Greenbuild’s official Twitter feed – @Greenbuild – and conversation at #Greenbuild.

HOK’s sustainable design experts will be busy at Greenbuild, speaking at the conference and other related events. Read more below and visit the Greenbuild website to learn more about the conference and expo.

The Road to #Greenbuild is Paved in Social Media

Greenbuild is finally making its way to San Francisco this November – and those of us in the Bay Area are pretty excited. The conference theme is aptly “@ Greenbuild,” referencing the astounding array of Internet, social media and technology companies headquartered here in the Bay Area.  We also have our host of gaming companies, many of whom tap into social networks; gamejobhunter lists over 120 companies nearby, from tiny start-ups to titans like EA and Zynga.

Silicon Valley

Our social media bonanza …

Leadership in Sustainability

For the third year in a row, the Design Futures Council and DesignIntelligence have ranked HOK as the most-admired firm in the world for its leadership in sustainable and high-performance design.  This is indeed an honor and a privilege.

“HOK is a firm often cited for making a difference. … HOK is recognized for breaking new ground with clear, practical and inspirational leadership.  HOK staff is admired for its compelling case studies, engaging thought leadership, and insights that lead to making wise decisions to benefit the planet’s future condition.”
James Cramer
Co-Chair, Design Futures Council
Founding Editor, DesignIntelligence

We owe much of our leadership status to our clients. It is our clients who bring their vision …