Last Friday morning in a crack-of-dawn breakfast ceremony at the Hilton, the BetterBricks Awards honored members of Oregon's design and construction community for their efforts in creating energy-efficient architecture.
BetterBricks, a nonprofit initiative of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, is also a sponsor of this website. Hopefully this post will not seem like advertorial-style promotion for BetterBricks. But I deemed the awards a relevant story to report.
The awards were given out in six categories: (1) owner/decision-maker, (2) architecture, (3) engineering, (4) facility management/building operations, (5) advocate and (6) emerging leader. Continuing a trend from past years, honorees came from Gerding/Edlen Development, architecture firm SRG Partnership and mechanical engineer Interface Engineering, as well as a few other sources.
The owner/decision maker award went to Mark Edlen, head of Gerding/Edlen Development. This was probably a no-brainer for the jury, considering that Gerding is not just Portland's most active and large-scale green developer, but one of the nation's.
The architect winner was John Schleuning of SRG Partnership. Schleuning is the 'S' in the firm's acronym, and has guided SRG through decades of very solid design work. I actually associate Kent Duffy as much or more with SRG's most significant projects of recent years than Schleuning, but Duffy's boss is a guiding hand for the whole firm and has an impressive long track record. Duffy has previously won a BetterBricks award anyway. SRG doesn't have as high a profile as other comparable medium-sized firms. They've largely sat out the condo boom of the last several years, for example, instead focusing on public buildings such as libraries and universities. Even so, much of SRG's biggest projects include leading edge green design, such as the Lillis Business Complex at the University of Oregon and an expansion of the Mt. Angel Abbey campus beside Alvar Aalto's masterful library there.
The engineering award was a tie, between John Gray of Interface Engineering and Mike Kaplan of Kaplan Engineering. Again, I'm not sure how BetterBricks chooses what individuals from these firms receive the prizes. When I wrote about Interface's work on the GBD Architects designed, LEED Platinum OHSU Center for Health & Healing, for example, it was Andy Frichtl from that firm leading the charge. But Frichtl is a past winner for Interstate, so I guess they decided to spread it around. Regardless, Interface is a strong force in Portland green building because the mechanical engineering they offer is hugely responsible for an efficient structure: they create the guts of the building that uses energy to heat and cool the structure.
Salem Public Schools' David Furr and Kathleen Hill were the facility management winners, while Renee Loveland of Gerding Edlen Development was recognized as this year's top advocate. Dennis Wilde of Gerding is usually considered their big long-term sustainability advocate, but he's also a past winner. Naomi Cole, sustainability coordinator for Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership, was honored as this year's emerging leader. She must indeed be emerging: I've visited ZGF countless times and have never met Naomi or heard her name. But ZGF does increasingly impressive work with strong sustainability credentials, particularly when working with Gerding Edlen.
Meanwhile, congratulations to all the winners. And as we look ahead, who are some of the developers, architects, engineers and other players deserving of recognition?