When I was a kid, I wanted to be an architect. I played with Lego® more than dolls, and I drew and redrew house plans for fun. When I was about 12, I remember hearing the word ‘organic’ tied to Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but as I got older, I understood. I also realized my own life was organic – living with the planet.
I’ve studied Wright’s houses, environments and furnishings, and I see how the whole is a work of art. I especially appreciate the way his homes fit the land they sit on and his use of natural materials throughout.
Wright may have been one of the first ‘green’ architects, and most likely the most famous. With environmental awareness in the forefront these days, though, many architects are adding sustainable design to their portfolios.
1. Eric Corey Freed
Eric Corey Freed followed in Wright’s footsteps with ‘organic’ design. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, he worked with a former apprentice of Wright’s, where he combined the old with the new for environmentally conscious design.
2. William McDonough
William McDonough’s architecture firm, William McDonough + Partners, practices ‘ecologically, socially, and economically intelligent architecture and planning.’ McDonough also developed the Cradle to Cradle certification system to restructure industry to make everything recyclable or biodegradable.
3. Michelle Kaufman
Michelle Kaufmann is credited for developing the energy efficient pre-fab. She believes sustainable design should be accessible to everyone and incorporated into all structures.
4. Perkins + Will
In 2011, Perkins + Will received LEED certification for the 100th time. They design with low impact in mind, and even their offices are built to LEED Platinum standards. They invest in renewable energy to offset their energy use.
5. Zero Energy Design
As their name implies, Zero Energy Design creates living and working environments that make more energy than they use. Like Frank Lloyd Wright, they build within the environment on site, so each home is unique to its land and its occupants.
Until fuel prices skyrocketed in recent years, most designers and homeowners alike did not care about conserving energy in their homes. Now the public is becoming more and more aware of environmental issues, and I’m sure more green architects are on the horizon.