There’s no denying that the concept of “sustainable architecture” is finally going mainstream. Look no further than the growing prominence of sustainability standards like LEED, Passive House, the Zero Carbon Building Standard and the Living Building Challenge. Accolades like these pull architecture in the right design, but they’re also highlighting the critical need for architects and designers with a thorough knowledge of sustainable design, from building materials to energy reduction strategies to projects that promote long-term sustainable lifestyles in urban spaces.
As any expert on the subject will tell you, sustainability in architecture goes far beyond tacking some solar panels on a rooftop or landscaping in a few extra plants. Rather, it touches the very heart of how buildings function; how a building consumes energy, how it manages its waste or how it conserves water, for instance. Sustainability also concerns how people interact with these buildings, whether they choose to walk or drive to them, how they deal with ventilation and heating, and how compelled they feel about buying local, among other things. No one solution will make buildings completely eco-friendly or waste or carbon-neutral, but that’s why it’s essential for architecture firms need to hire sustainability experts to deal with these challenges. The resulting projects can be as exciting as they are innovative.
Take for instance the Greenwood Yard project by SvN Architects + Planners in Toronto, the A+Award Jury Winner in the Landscape and Planning – Unbuilt Masterplan category. Historically, the Greenwood Yards has not had the best reputation. The 37-acre site was first used as a brickyard in the 19th Century, when the city was still some distance away but rapidly growing, then as a garbage dump starting in the 1930s. Since the 1960s, the land has served as a railyard for the Toronto Transit Commission — an essential space to service the city’s streetcars and subway cars, but nonetheless a large, noisy and polluting eyesore in the quiet residential neighborhood. As the city has grown around it, the Greenwood Yards has become an increasingly disconnected site, and now acts as a major barrier in between neighborhoods.
SvN Architects + Planners envision a complete transformation of the site. Their prototype design seeks to superimpose onto the railyard a dense, walkable and easily connected mixed use neighborhood, which would include educational facilities, sorely needed residential units and office, commercial and community spaces. But most crucially, the site would be transformed from a pollution hub into a green haven. The firm plans the reintroduction of agricultural spaces throughout, as well as the addition of micro-forests and natural spaces for the public. These designs will improve the overall sustainability of the site, enabling the new neighborhood to treat its waste onsite and produce its own renewable energy.
Thanks to their design, SvN Architects + Planners are responding to an urgent need by the city of Toronto — and a need for cities worldwide — to rethink how urban and suburban communities can be connected through sustainable practices that reincorporate nature in multifaceted ways. The firm, based in Toronto is also looking to hire Senior and Intermediate Sustainability Architects for their ever-growing list of projects all over Ontario.
Are you interested in pursuing a career in architectural sustainability? Consider applying to these firms through Architizer’s Jobs Board.
BKSK Architects, currently looking to hire a Sustainability Coordinator, is a New York City-based firm specializing in design that is socially, contextually, and ecologically engaged. The firm’s diverse range of work includes award-winning cultural, civic, educational, and multi-family residential projects.
Via Design Architects, based in Virginia, has a long history of resilience design on the water’s edges with environmentally sensitive and flood prone sites. The firm’s architecture and landscape projects are associated with master plans, waterfronts, park planning, and urban redevelopments with federal authorities, state institutions, private developers, municipalities, and community groups. They are currently hiring for an Architecture Project Leader and a Landscape Architecture Project Leader for their Norfolk office.
Centerbrook Architects and Planners, based in Connecticut is looking to hire an Architectural Designer. The practice has a wide-ranging portfolio centered on sustainability, including everything from urban design to smaller architectural projects. Notably, the firm works within a reimagined 19th century factory retrofitted to sustainably power itself using solar, hydro, and geothermal.
Mallol Arquitectos is looking to hire a Director of Architecture for their offices in Panama City, Panama. The firm, which has a long list of complex, high-profile projects throughout Latin America, is looking for a leader immersed in all aspects related to sustainability to develop and increase the team’s level of knowledge in energy efficiency, water conservation and waste management.