There was a jubilant mood this morning at the California Academy of Sciences‘ Leadership in Energy and Design (LEED) award ceremony this morn. Why’s that? Platinum, baby – that’s LEED’s highest possible rating. We knew about this last year – it’s never too late to celebrate, of course. But “Can Green Design be Good Design?” Hell yes, says the New Republic:
“Renzo Piano’s sublime California Academy of Sciences (CAS), one of last year’s most widely praised buildings and the winner of a platinum rating from the Leadership in Energy and Design standard system—the highest rating from the world’s leading eco-rating program. Piano is also, by the way, among the starriest of the starchitects.”
O.K. then. This morning’s mise-en-scene, the four-story rainforest dome to the left and the tower of the de Young Museum far off across the Music Concourse. Click to expand.
Jared Blumenfeld (not “Blumenthal“), Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment and interim General Manger of Recreation and Parks, explained the difficulty of attaining LEED Platinum status for those building large museums:
Mayor Gavin Newsom, don’t miss his bit today in the HuffPo: “Greening Buildings to Save Jobs“, pointing up to the famous Living Roof:
After Mayor Newsom briefly spoke of his grandfather, Arthur L. Menzies, former Supervisor of Plant Accessions at nearby Strybing Arboretum (aka San Francisco Botanical Garden), things got a little feisty. He emphatically stated that the CAS is the “envy of New York City.” O.K. then.
Comes now, Dr. Greg Farrington, Director of the Cal Academy:
He discussed a recent visit to Central Park, or as he called it, “Golden Gate Park East” and made reference to the American Museum of Natural History, which he envies for its subway access. (Dr. Farrington is actually “lusting after” the concept of a subway going to the CAS. Maybe someday…)
Dr. F went on to extol the Thursday evening nightLife program, which is targetted for those aged 21-35. He stated that Nightlife has won over fans on Facebook – for example, someone whose initial reaction was “how geeky can you get?” is now a huge fan.
He warned the audience members to be careful what they toss into the garbage at CAS. He jokingly suggested that former employees “now work at the de Young” after having gotten the boot for trash transgressions.
But he’s a big picture kind of guy, pointing out that CAS is attempting to answer two questions:
1. How did we get here?
2. How do we find a way to stay?
We went from this, Renzo Piano’s original vision seven years ago…
…to this, the LEED platinum award (sadly comprised mostly of silicon and oxygen), one of just 119 in the world:
Look for it on display the next time you visit the CA Academy of Sciences.
See you there!
More deets after the jump. (more…)