Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

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, …

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: Feedback Hydronics

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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

Making Chicago a Greener Place: Green Apple Day of Service

IMG_3462 HOK volunteers in front of the new ChiArts recycling center.

Our HOK Chicago team recently participated in USGBC’s Green Apple Day of Service at Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts). Green Apple Day of Service gives individuals, companies and organizations the opportunity to transform schools into healthy, safe, cost-efficient and productive learning places.

Focusing on key sustainable initiatives, our volunteers worked with W.E. O’Neil and DIRTT Environmental Solutions to plant and garden the ChiArts outdoor spaces, install a recycling center and install a DIRTT Breathe Wall inside of the school.

IMG_3453 Installing the DIRTT Breathe Wall!

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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.

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

Q+A with Tom Polucci, Director of Interiors Based in HOK’s New York Office

Polucci Tom for blog

Tom Polucci, AIA, IIDA, LEED GA, director of interiors based in New York City, discusses how his colleagues and clients inspire him every day. He also comments on workplace trends and explains how design can support healthier work environments.

As a firm-wide interiors leader, Tom is a member of HOK’s board of directors and marketing board. He has more than 20 years of experience managing the design of projects for organizations worldwide. Educated, trained and licensed as an architect, Tom focuses on creating exceptional environments for clients.

What workplace design trends are you seeing? What do you predict for the future?

TP: Collaboration is still key. Everyone is focused …

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, …

HOK staff volunteers at Earth Day Festival

HOK’s St. Louis office capped off Earth Week with a volunteer effort at St. Louis Earth Day Festival at Forest Park.

The festival is the second-largest celebration in the country, with crowds of 30,000-40,000 people each year – many of which bike to the park. The volunteers managed the bike valet for the festival. They logged the names of people who biked in and kept their bikes safe until they were ready to leave.

Thanks to our volunteers and to the entire St. Louis office for a great Earth Week!


HOK volunteers Mackenzie McCulloch, Reagan Branham, Mike Chung, Brad Liebman, Tim Slazinik, Lauren Field and Alyse Garbisch.


Mackenzie McCulloch shows …

HOK’s St. Louis Office Celebrates Earth Day

HOK’s St. Louis office celebrated Earth Day all week with a series of office-wide events including a staff-wide Pecha Kucha luncheon. About a dozen professionals around the office each presented five slides in 20 seconds apiece on a wide range of topics centering on Earth Day.

Sustainable Design Leader Tim Gaidis talks about the 2014 AIA Committee on the Environment Top 10 award winners.

Lighting Designer Kathleen Hamilton challenges the staff to leave the lights off and enjoy natural daylighting.

Project Manager Maren Engelmohr shares her story of creating a LEED Platinum home for her …

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 …

How Reverse Engineering Nature Can Spur Design Innovation

(This post on biomimicry by Thomas Knittel, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, senior principal – design in HOK’s Los Angeles studio, first appeared in Fast Co.Exist.)

It’s not enough to copy nature. Today’s designers need a deeper understanding of environmental nuance, from the biome in.

The William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center in Port-au-Prince is designed to replace an orphanage severely damaged in the 2010 earthquake. HOK’s Thomas Knittel took inspiration from the kapok tree, a native Caribbean species that stores water internally and sheds its leaves in times of drought. The William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center (WJCCC) in Port-au-Prince is designed to replace an orphanage severely damaged in the 2010 earthquake.

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 – …

How Buildings That Imitate Earth’s Creatures Could Save Us From Ourselves

(This post on biomimicry by Thomas Knittel, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, senior principal – design in HOK’s Los Angeles studio, first appeared in Fast Co. Exist.)

Sustainable design needs a gut check. When it comes to designing for efficiency, balance, and resiliency, nothing beats emulating Earth’s creatures.

The frenetic consumption that has defined American culture over the past hundred years transcends food, fuel, and “stuff.” We’ve also gobbled up building materials.

From 1900 to 1995, America experienced a five-fold spike in per capita consumption of non-food and non-fuel resources. Of the durable goods we amassed, construction materials for buildings far exceeded any others. In 1900, renewable …

HOK’s Zorana Bosnic on the Future of High-Performance Buildings

HOK San Francisco’s Zorana Bosnic recently spoke at the Summer 2013 RegenForum in San Francisco. Her talk, entitled “The Future of High-Performance Buildings at a Global Scale”, began with the audience offering ideas on what global issues in the coming decade will shape the future of high performance buildings. The responses were then tied into the presentation topics:

  • Furthering focus on building performance in design and operations
  • Making high performance buildings a norm for the future of all buildings
  • Prioritizing human health and happiness
  • Creating a connection to nature and biomimicry
  • Expanding advances in the use of healthy building materials

Points discussed in the presentation included:

  • Are we meeting the challenge: The 2012

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 …

HOK San Mateo County Jail Team Presents to San Francisco AIA/AAJ

The HOK team, including Jeff Goodale, Lynn Filar and Alan Bright along with Sergeant Dave Titus from San Mateo County and Steve Baylock from Sundt-Layton Joint Venture,  presented the Maple Street Complex Facilities project to the San Francisco AIA AAJ on June 12.

The presentation focused on the experiences the team has had combining the design-build and construction manager at risk delivery methods and the design and sustainability features of the project. The San Mateo County Jail is a $125 million project located in Redwood City, California. It will serve as a re-entry step between the current Maguire Correctional Facility and the community.

One …

HOK San Francisco’s Zorana Bosnic Speaks at Greenerbuilder

HOK San Francisco’s Sustainable Design Director Zorana Bosnic recently presented at the USGBC Northern California’s Greenerbuilder conference. The session, entitled “Performance Contracting – Paradigm Shift in How We Design, Build and Operate”, covered:

Traditional design-build-operate delivery models provide no guarantee that operating performance will match design expectations. Operational energy use often doesn’t match the design energy goals. Recent focus on building performance disclosure has exposed the gap between design expectations and actual performance. With the growing necessity for evidence based design, a holistic design process that incorporates environmental analysis and allows for integration and collaboration is paramount. This shift will require an innovative approach in risk allocation.

Additional presenters …

Public Health Gets a Place at the Design Table

Imagine a world in which buildings and communities clearly and definitively help to prevent some of our most widespread illnesses, improve our mental health, and strengthen our overall wellbeing.  We are now one step closer to this place after last week’s Summit on Green Buildings & Human Health, hosted by the US Green Building Council.   

If there’s one thing that I took away, it’s the enormous potential of public health professionals joining forces with the green building community to significantly improve human health and wellbeing.  We’ve always cared about the basics, of …

Q+A with Russ Drinker: New Managing Principal in HOK’s San Francisco Office

Thirty-four-year architectural veteran Russ Drinker, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, joined the leadership team in HOK’s San Francisco office on Sept 4. as a new senior vice president and managing principal.

As a pre-teen growing up in a 150-year-old Victorian farmhouse surrounded by an apple orchard in Saratoga, California, Russ built tree houses and forts. By the time he began studying architecture at the University of California in Berkeley in 1976, he had graduated to designing and constructing 2,000-square-foot solar homes.

“I had no business doing this, but I designed and built a custom house while an undergraduate at Berkeley,” said Russ. “It taught me about designing buildings from the inside-out and about sustainability. And I really …

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 …

HOK’s Steven Danielpour on Specifying Sustainable Design

Why should we be concerned about sustainable design? Steven Danielpour, the director of specifications for our New York office, discusses what vehicles are available for implementing sustainable design and how to implement sustainable design in specifications documents. The presentation is from the 2012 ArchiSpec Summit in Henderson, Nevada. Enjoy:

HOK Chairman and Sustainability Pioneer Bill Valentine Retires after 50 Years

Bill Valentine has retired after half a century with HOK. Bill joined HOK in 1962, straight from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and, thankfully, never left. In 1970, at the request of HOK Founding Partner Gyo Obata, Bill headed west from St. Louis to California to open HOK’s San Francisco office. Bill, who championed the firm’s early adoption of sustainability as a core value in the 1990s, served as president of HOK from 2000­­-2007 and chairman from 2007-2012.

Here is a video celebrating Bill’s first 50 years of design at HOK:

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You also can watch a collection of YouTube videos featuring Bill.

Throughout his career, Bill has been a frequent speaker and author on …

Tour the Bay, Green Building-Style

Greenbuild Tour Proposal Wordle

San Francisco has long been one of the world’s great tourist attractions, and this year it will have a great new set of offerings: 20+ tours developed for the Greenbuild Conference and Expo, plus many more that the USGBC Northern California Chapter will be able to offer in the future.  The Greenbuild Host Committee recently put out a call for tour proposals – the outpouring of responses showed the embarrassment of riches that San Francisco has to offer for green building

A Baseline for Sustainability: the New International Green Construction Code

Thanks to HOK Director of Sustainable Design Mary Ann Lazarus, co-chair of the AIA IgCC Task Force, for this guest post.

Did you all feel the earth shake last Wednesday, March 28? Why? Because that’s when the International Code Council issued the new International Green Construction Code (IgGC). So what? Code language usually isn’t that exciting, and typically sets the low bar for design. Well the IgCC is different in so many ways.

The IgCC is the result of many years labor by the ICC, AIA, USGBC, IESNA and others to define a new baseline of sustainability that will apply to all commercial construction. It incorporates as an option …

@Greenbuild – San Francisco 2012


Road to Greenbuild

Greenbuild, the international green building conference and expo hosted annually by the US Green Building Council, will finally make its way to San Francisco this November.  Greenbuild has been drawing 20,000-30,000 people for the last few years, and we expect that San Francisco will be the largest ever – depending on who you listen to, there may be upwards of 45,000 people.  (Yikes!) 

The conference theme this year is “@Greenbuild”, making reference to the mindboggling array of internet and technology companies headquartered in the Bay Area.  The …

A Model for a New Emergent Approach to Building in Haiti

By Thomas Knittel, AIA, LEED® AP

The New Year always causes one to reflect on the recent past, but especially so today, the two-year anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti. I have been fortunate to work with a dedicated group of volunteers at HOK to design a children’s center and orphanage in Port-au-Prince. Earlier this week, we presented our latest design to the client, Fondation Enfant Jesus, as well as to the U.S. Green Building Council. The results were very positive.

Our collective goal to create a nurturing and restorative place is taking shape. In many ways, though, this project is more difficult than the large, …

HOK Leads Pilot Composting Initiative In Downtown St. Louis’ Largest Class A Office Building

The future of composting food and other biodegradable “waste” in large multi-tenant office buildings is unfolding in a pilot program orchestrated by HOK in its St. Louis headquarters at the One Metropolitan Square (Met Square) downtown.

HOK’s Terri Muckensturm and Mary Ostafi separate and discard food leftovers

A team in HOK’s St. Louis office is managing an $18,000 grant engaging eight Met Square tenants in the pilot program that began on October 26, 2011. Through December 12, 2011, the tenants have recycled 11.33 tons of food waste for composting, averaging more than 1.5 tons of food each week. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans discard more than 96 billion pounds of …

Project Haiti on Metropolis POV

We’re thrilled that Sarah Weissman, architect and fearless leader of HOK IMPACT, is guest blogging about Project Haiti for Metropolis magazine’s Point of View blog. You can click here to read the first entry and check out her latest post below:

Sarah and a young boy at Fondation Enfant Jesus in Port au Prince (photo was taken by one of the children who discovered a new love for playing with Sarah’s camera)

When HOK was asked to partner with the USGBC on Project Haiti, a children’s center in Port au Prince, we decided immediately that the most appropriate approach to the project would require an integrated, multi-disciplinary team. So we assembled …