The concept for this innovative green architecture, which incorporates the element of design to make buildings sustainable, already has a name: biomimicry, which means using Nature as a model for building. Two architects who are in the forefront of this next generation of green building recently relocated from Manhattan to Beacon, and they’ll be sharing their revolutionary ideas in a talk titled “Building Inspiration” at the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, held on May 19 at 7 p.m.
Oliver Schaper and Lily Zand (who happen to be married) collectively cover a lot of ground: Schaper, one of the first LEED-accredited professionals for neighborhood development, leads the sustainable design performance group for the Northeast region at Gensler, an architectural firm with numerous large-scale projects in the US and Middle East. Zand, a staunch environmentalist, is an architectural designer, installation artist and educator who founded the School of Jellyfish, a design initiative for sustainable living and renewable energy, in Beacon.
Based at 183 Main Street, where they do “community counseling” on the weekends – for all their impressive credentials, Schaper and Zand are committed to taking architecture and design off their elitist pedestal – the couple will be presenting their talk in a space that showcases their ideas. Schaper designed the building housing the Beacon Institute, which is located on a peninsula that juts into the Hudson River and is meant to serve as a prototype for testing sustainable technologies. It also is isolated from municipal services such as city sewers. Heated and cooled by geothermal energies, it has composting toilets and utilizes wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which ensures that it’s sustainably grown, according to Schaper.
Zand predicted that buildings inspired by biomimicry would make their appearance within the decade, provided that the socioeconomic climate is favorable. These green buildings will represent a new paradigm in which the wisdom of the ages will inform the newest of technologies: the ancient builders’ reliance on Nature crossed with materials built at the molecular level.
To register online for the talk, visit www.bire.org/events. The Beacon Institute, which also has offices in Troy, is a not-for-profit environmental research organization whose main focus is real-time monitoring of river ecosystems.