Author Archives: Grazyna Pilatowicz

Open House New York

Every year on one of the first weekends in October the door of interesting buildings in the city open up to the public. It is an amazing opportunity to learn about old and new architecture of New York. This year I had a chance to participate in a tour of newly open Visitors’ Center at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

Elegantly designed by Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, the Center proves that the building can be environmentally responsible and beautiful at the same time. BBG is reaching for LEED NC Gold and employs many wonderful strategies that limit its’ environmental footprint.

Fritt on the glass controls glare and heat gain, and prevents birds from colliding with windows.

The building responds to the location in its form that brings visitors gently into the gardens. The interiors are skillfully detailed and benefit from high level of transparency and views of the surroundings.

The ceiling in the main space reference a leaf, echo floor design, house indirect lighting, and provide superb acoustics.

You can learn about all environmental features of the building from very informative signs placed in and around the Center. I highly recommend a visit!

Up-Cycling in Puerto Rico

Few weeks ago I was invited to speak about up-cycling at the annual convention of the Colegio de Disenadore-Decoradores de Interiores de Puerto Rico. It was truly an “up-lifting” event!

The conference took place in the beautiful La Concha hotel in San Juan, which itself was few years ago rescued by the local community from being demolished. The demolition already started, but was stopped by protesters, and then brought back to life and glory by the local architects!

 

Included in the conference was a competition organized among local students of interior design. Students were to design from discarded elements an object for interiors. All of the entries: lamps, clocks, tables, chairs proved again endless creativity of the design students. My favorite was a small night lamp with shade made out of plastic spoons.

But the most memorable were exchanges and discussions we had with designers and architects. Attendants of the convention shared with us their awareness and sensitivity of life and work on a small island where they are every day reminded of the problems the whole world is facing: finite resources and unsustainable development and consumerism. What Puerto Rico, and other small islands of the world are facing today is what the whole world will face tomorrow unless we start seriously work toward changing our modus operandi. The Earth is a small island with its limits clearly defined.

And one more thing that I will remember: the amazing hospitality and the warmth of my hosts! Thank you, my friends in Puerto Rico for inviting me!

Sixth Annual FIT Sustainable Business & Design Conference

Join us! Register at www.fitnyc.edu/sustainability

FIT’s 6th Annual Sustainable Business and Design Conference

Tuesday, March 27, 2012       8:30 am – 5:30 pm

The John Reeves Great Hall           Seminar Rooms/Great Hall Stations

“Winds of Change: Making Our Mark on Sustainability”

The theme encompass the idea of action, change and movement – what’s happening now with best practices in business and beyond, and “the what could be” of the future (air pollution, energy issues, etc.)
Program

8:15 – 9:00am             Breakfast

9:00 – 9:15am            Welcome – Sustainability Council: Conference program/schedule

9:15 -10:15am             Colin Beavan  – No Impact Man- Keynote Speaker – kick-off conference – “No Imact Man” who went off the grid and attempted to live in the middle of New York City with as little environmental impact as possible.

10:30-11:15am            President’s Welcome and Remarks/President’s Panel: What’s Happening at FIT

11:30-12:30pm            Deborah Johnson – Pratt- Keynote Speaker Pratt Sustainable Dorm Room project

12:30 –1:00pm            Lunch Break

1:00 – 2:00pm            Dr. Stephen Kellert – The Human Need for Nature, Biophilia, and Design – Keynote Speaker - Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies on biophillia and biophillic design – understanding the connection between nature and humanity with a particular interest in environmental conservation and sustainable design and development.

2:15 –3:00pm             Lorraine Smith – sustainability consultant- Keynote Speaker – Focused on a life cycle approach to sustainability and supporting collaborative, learning-based initiatives.

3:15 – 4:15pm             Dr. Maureen Clemmons – Keynote Speaker – Moving the pyramids with wind power

4:30 – 5:30pm            Closing remarks and announcement of Concurrent Break-out Session

  • Laura Siegel- Laura’s brand is a high end woman’s wear collection with a commitment to sustainable practices.
  • Alix Davidson- NYC’s Regional Director of Green Festival® where individuals, business and community come together to discuss issues that impact us at home and abroad.
  • Sustainable Interior Environments Graduate Program Students- “You are what you breathe! How much do you know about sustainable materials?”
  • FIT Professor Karen Pearson and High School of Fashion faculty Dominic Cammarota -“Developing an Understanding of Sustainability by Example”

Thoughts at the end of a year…

In the current issue of Yes! magazine I found wonderful and wise words of Jason F. McLennan, architect devoted to sustainable development, chief executive of the Cascadia Green Building Council and of the International Living Future Institute: “Each building, each project creates a ripple effect around it. It changes the way people think. When there are enough of these examples, then a sudden and large-scale shift will be possible. We can’t control the timing of major shifts in civilization, but we can increase the likelihood that a shift will occur.”
I will enter 2012 with hope and perseverance.
Best wishes for Holidays and for New Year!