The Living Building Challenge Wins 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge
NAMED WINNER OF 2012 BUCKMINSTER FULLER CHALLENGE
June 7, 2012 NEW YORK CITY The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) is pleased to announce that The Living Building Challenge, a building standard framework and certification program that is defining the highest possible level of environmental performance in the built environment, has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. The Seattle based non-governmental organization (NGO), envisioning a built environment that is fully integrated with its ecosystem, was awarded $100,000 to further develop and scale its work at an award ceremony last night at Cooper Union in New York City.
The Buckminster Fuller Challenge, named "Socially-Responsible Design's Highest Award" by Metropolis Magazine, is the world's premier annual global competition recognizing bold, visionary, tangible initiatives that take a comprehensive, anticipatory, design science approach to radically advance human well being and the health of our planet's ecosystems, named for one of the most important futurists and visionaries of the 20th century.
"If Bucky Fuller were with us today," said Challenge Juror Kenny Ausubel, "he'd be smiling because the Living Building Challenge exemplifies his mission statement for humanity: 'To make the world work for 100 percent of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense for the disadvantage of anyone.' The Living Building Challenge is especially important at this make-it-or-break-it moment when humanity must rapidly address climate change in disruptive, systemic ways. At a cusp when world populations continue to place increasingly radical strains on the biosphere, innovating on how we redesign the built environment is imperative."
The Living Building Challenge emphasizes priorities on both a technical level and as a set of core values, engaging the broader building industry in the deep conversations required to re-imagine business-as-usual, and transform building occupants from passive consumers into active stewards of increasingly scarce resources. Since 2010, when The Living Building Challenge was a Buckminster Fuller Challenge finalist, it has gained a lot of momentum, extending its reach well beyond its initial base in the Pacific Northwest, and is influencing sites all over the world. They demonstrate that their principles are feasible, replicable and translatable to a wide range of contexts, including emerging economies and lower income neighborhoods.
There are registered Living Building Challenge projects in Australia, Canada, France, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Romania and the United States, with emerging projects elsewhere. In the United States alone, there are sites in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The approach inspires a new level of collaboration between building owners, construction trade, architects, engineers and regulators. Not only do the principles in and of themselves hold the potential to catalyze widespread innovation within the industry, but they work training a network of ambassadors in every country with a registered building as well as in Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, dedicated to engaging their communities in collaboration.
Future of Fish, a nonprofit accelerator for entrepreneurs launching market-based initiatives that drive sustainability, efficiency, and traceability in the seafood supply chain, was named Runner-Up. It focuses specifically on industry pioneers whose planned initiatives are directly aligned with their own mission and whose ideas are considered too nascent to secure traditional financing without the additional strategic and operational support Future of Fish provides.
The Honorable Mentions were:
Eco-Fuel Africa Limited works with rural farmers in Africa to make clean cooking fuel and organic fertilizers called biochar from agricultural waste like coffee husks and sugarcane waste. Providing farmers with access to free organic fertilizers, they are reducing indoor air pollution and cost of fuel, combating deforestation, enhancing the fertility of depleted farming soils, boosting rural incomes, and empowering communities.
The Water Retention Landscape of Tamera, is a model for natural decentralized water management, restoration of damaged ecosystems and disaster prevention. It is a basis for reforestation, agriculture and aquaculture, especially in regions threatened by desertification, and is an integral part of a comprehensive model for sustainability in water, food, energy and social structures.
The winner was announced after a day event hosted by The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design. The day featured presentations by the winner and runner-up, a roundtable discussion with Challenge jurors, finalists, and Professor of Architecture at The Cooper Union, David Turnbull, and an award ceremony. Special guest Dr. John Todd delivered a keynote address.
The Buckminster Fuller Challenge (now in its fifth year) celebrates innovation and creativity that takes a whole-systems approach to design. The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design shares this approach and places whole-systems thinking at the core of its philosophy. The June 6th event inaugurated a formal partnership between the Buckminster Fuller Institute and the CUISD. Collaboration between these groups will allow us to co-promote a series of lectures, share resources and ideas, inspire our communities and streamline our efforts as we work together toward our common vision of a sustainable future.
For the 2012 statements about the winner from BFI and the Jury, visit the winner page.