What is the value of AIA to you?

AIA provides a gathering space (both virtual and physical) for the best of the best in building design which helps us track architecture trends, evolutions in sustainable design approaches and who is doing what kind of projects.

What project are you working on now?

A wide range of thrilling projects but those which are stretching our brains to new, exciting places are the 4 Living Building projects we’re working on right now.
• 2517 Eastlake (6 story, 185 unit, multifamily residential) – pursuing the Living Building Pilot Program (LBPP) and the Living Building Challenge Energy Petal (Net-Positive Energy)
• 570 Mercer (8 story, office building) – pursuing the Living Building Pilot Program (LBPP) and the Living Building Challenge Materials Petal
• Magnolia Safeway (8 story residential over grocery) – pursuing the Living Building Pilot Program (LBPP) and the Living Building Challenge Materials Petal
• King County Central Maintenance Facility for KC Parks Dept – pursuing the Living Building Challenge Energy Petal (Net-Positive Energy)

How do you explain what you do for a living?

I work with project teams to achieve their design goals across MEP, energy, sustainability, lighting design and commissioning … and equally important, I go into work every day to do all I can to teach and elevate our internal team to achieve their professional goals as well.

What inspired you today?

Watching the magic of cross collaboration between our energy and sustainability teams; the sharing of ideas, back and forth, which resulted in a final presentation product which is far superior than it would have been if either group were functioning in isolation. It brought tears to my eyes … no joke.

Has your career taken you anywhere you didn’t expect?

Absolutely. I started out as a physics major, did interior design for stores for 10 years, then landed here at Rushing in the job I had always dreamed of – a space where I’m challenged with integrating and balancing technical thinking/engineering, design, sustainability, social equity and financial impacts.

Where is the field of architecture, engineering or construction headed?

We’re headed towards a much deeper connection between actual building performance and the designs we generate. To date, many designs have been informed by modeling and a few scientific studies of human behavior in spaces, but there is still not a large amount of data on how these designs actually impact utility bills and human health. As our environmental and human health goals elevate in importance, this data will become more readily available (LBPP, for example, demands that we collect real-time data during occupancy) and we will be able to hone our designs further to respond to it.

Can design save the world?

Not on its own, but buildings can include strategies which influence human behavior with education, feedback devices (think of the Prius dashboard turning red when you stomp on the gas), connections to nature, etc. This is called the “handprint.” If a building changes one person’s behavior and they share this with their friends who share it with their family, etc., the beneficial impact spreads beyond the footprint of the building.

If you could sum up your outlook on life in a bumper sticker, what would it say?

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde