Philip Merrill Environmental Center, subject of a major lawsuit
George Baird was the most articulate professor I ever had; he once launched into a sentence, the length of a paragraph, that was so intricately constructed, with such an extraordinary vocabulary (I remember hearing the word "historicity" for the first time) that the entire lecture hall broke into spontaneous applause at the end of it. He is no slouch at sustainable design either, and writes in Architectural Record about recent legal problems that have affected so-called sustainable buildings, like the Philip Merrill Center. It was the first building to achieve LEED Platinum, and is now the subject of a monster lawsuit. (more on this at Chris Cheatham's Green Building Law Update). George writes in the Architectural Record about what we can learn from this, and why architects should not keep their mouths shut instead of promoting sustainable design.
These experiences led me to conclude that we have reached the end of an initial phase of the development of sustainable architecture in North America. It is clear that we will need to redouble our future efforts in three important ways: first, to ensure successful fulfillment of technically based environmental ambitions for our buildings; second, to be more rigorous with regard to our predictions of performance -- especially parameters of performance that are only partly within our own professional control.
Lastly, we need to find appropriate ways to defend our right -- and our obligation -- to act in our capacity as public intellectuals in this vitally important arena. Although our scientific expertise is limited, our generalist orientation to sustainability means that we architects remain uniquely positioned to articulate its manifold aspects in architecture and urbanism to the public at large.
More in the Architectural Record
More on George Baird and Baird Sampson Neuert Architects:
"Don't Give Us Green Design Icing, Give Us the Cake"
Green Dreams for Toronto's City Hall