Design for Humans
Architect Sim Van der Ryn, pioneer of sustainable building, will speak at Aquarium.
Thursday, May 6, 2004
Architect Sim Van der Ryn, one of the world’s leading authorities on sustainable architecture, has been talking the talk and walking the walk for more than 35 years—teaching at UC Berkeley and pioneering green design in single-family homes, schools and commercial buildings as well as communities.
In 1975, Van der Ryn served as California’s State Architect. Appointed by then-Governor Jerry Brown, Van der Ryn developed the nation’s first government-initiated program for energy-efficient building, and led the adoption of energy standards and disability-access standards for all construction in California. In this post, he managed the planning and design of all state facilities, including the State Park system.
On Thursday, May 6, with Fort Ord—and its potential for hundreds of thousands of new buildings and homes—looming over his shoulder, Van der Ryn will give a presentation on “Ecologically Designed Housing and Homes: Principles, Process, and Projects,” at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
He’ll talk about how good design principles can ensure that buildings and site development will have a reduced impact on the environment. Van der Ryn calls his approach, ECO-LOGIC Design, “a marriage of nature and technology, using ecology as the basis for design.”
At the end of his presentation, Van der Ryn will sign copies of his book, Ecological Design .
Van der Ryn project list from 1975 to the present includes dozens of resort centers, schools, office parks, community housing projects, individual residences and growth planning documents from Esalen to Tokyo. He’s also won numerous awards. On Earth Day 1999, the American Institute of Architects named the Real Goods Solar Living Center in Hopland, Calif. one of the top 10 environmental projects in the US. Van der Ryn was the design architect for this project, which incorporated a retail showroom, offices and 12 acres of native landscaping, and used energy efficient and climate responsive design features, sustainable materials and systems and even edible landscaping.
Discussing design on the Web site of his firm, Van der Ryn Architects of Sausalito (www.vanderryn.com), he writes:
We design places where nature is the foreground and cannot be overpowered by our temporary creations. We use geometry not only to organize space and to mark the social interactions within, but also to resonate with the landscape. The building is not a fixed object but part of the larger pattern that flows with change—a permeable living membrane responding to changes in use and place. We use natural materials native to a place—earth, stone, trees—as well as advanced technology and scientific intelligence. Architecture is part of the process of “remembering”—putting back together our collective dreams. We design places for learning, healing, reflection, coming together. Design should tell a story about place and people, and be a pathway to understanding ourselves within nature.”
Monterey County could learn a lot from this guy.
Sim Van der Ryn speaks thurs, May 6 at 7pm at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey. $5 contribution suggested at the door. 624-9467.