why it matters.

May 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

I am a big proponent for sustainable architecture. I have been for my entire life, but I never had the capability of articulating why it was so important.

Then I worked for a sustainable architecture firm, and I learned that there are actually studies upon studies out there relating to the overall health and well being of a person based on their happiness in a space. Sustainability is not just “green” or “energy efficient” or “environmental”. Sustainability is also aesthetics and comfort. You are more likely to save a building that you like to see. You are more likely to enjoy being in a building you like to see.

The built environment is a huge part of who we are, and encompasses a significant portion of our lives. Houses, work, school. Even the commute from one location to another takes you past built places. But we pay so little attention to them, and balk at budgets meant to build a safe, comfortable place that will be around for years to come.

I mention this because recently the AIA’s Committee on the Environment’s Top Ten Green Projects were published. I watch this list closely each year, and marvel. This year, I’ve seen a few pieces about it, but I chose this one to publish here because of one simple quote for the Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Philadelphia (architect SMP Architects in collaboration with SRK Architects):

“The design team was challenged to create a small high school that would help students from low-income families succeed. They focused on keeping the floor plan inviting and transparent to give students views of green roofs and artwork, and choosing a site near public transportation so it would be easily accessible. Since the building’s completion in 2010, student truancy dropped from 35 percent to 0 percent, test scores quadrupled, and the graduation rate increased from 29 percent to 69 percent.”

Built environments do matter, and can benefit us.

I urge you to check out the full list. 

Here’s the school:


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