Elevating Design Performance

Cover image credit: Shanghai Tower. Taken June 21, 2016. Photo image courtesy of Gensler by Derryck Menere

by Anthony Brower in collaboration with Andy Cohen

As we approach Gensler’s 50th anniversary, we look back at many important and transformational collaborations with global-shift thinkers. In particular, we celebrate our tremendous partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). USGBC’s tools are integral components to our firm’s everyday practice, which currently includes more than 800 LEED certified projects and nearly 1,300 LEED Accredited Professionals.

Whether we’re designing a new workplace interior for an up-and-coming law firm, or finishing one of the world’s tallest high-rises in the Shanghai Tower, the sustainable design partnership with USGBC has been extremely valuable to Gensler and our clients. The Shanghai Tower broke various records and far exceeds expectations for design excellence and user experience—but its LEED Gold target was a vital measure of success from the project’s inception.

Our founder, Art Gensler, was instrumental in the dialogue that gave birth to many of the green building programs that have become a cornerstone of the industry. Since then, our firm has partnered with many developers and investors to realize the life cycle value of LEED as a return on investment tool. This tradition of engagement will continue in the 21st century as we focus on elevating design performance for the direct benefit of our clients and our communities. LEED’s value is easy to justify: It helps us quantify meaningful and measurable performance opportunities by guiding our clients from where they are now to where they want to be.

Shanghai Tower
Image Credit: Blackstation | Gensler | 2016

Today, business is evolving more rapidly than ever and our world is becoming increasingly complex. To address this, we need a more comprehensive way of understanding the changing global economy and adapting to it. Where do we go next? After many conversations among our global leadership and teams, we believe the next opportunities in sustainability lie in resilient communities and net-zero design—two vital arenas that address global climate and demographic and resource shifts in order to transcend the building efficiencies of today. These aspirations for zero energy, as well as water conservation and waste reduction design, are embraced by the new USGBC offerings.

In addition, Gensler’s robust research program and its client engagements around the globe are making strides toward a healthy workplace-building people-centered places and creating regenerative urban environments through a new level of collaboration. Emerging metrics and perpetual feedback will help Gensler unlock hidden environmental, social, and economic value and make the holistic goals of our clients achievable. The community that USGBC as well as Global Green Building Councils have heralded is imperative to the growth and education of a design community that is proactively anticipating the needs of the global population and our planet.

Our commitment to these passionate stewards of the environment and quality of life remains steadfast. It’s a mission we all share.

Co-Author: Andy Cohen, FAIA is one of two Gensler Co-CEOs whose collaborative leadership is fundamental to setting the company apart as a leading design firm. For his innovative leadership, Andy, along with Co-CEO Diane Hoskins, ranks on Business Insider’s elite “Creators” list, a who’s who of the world’s 100 top creative visionaries. As a hands-on leader, Andy oversees Gensler’s global platform and its day-to-day operations, some 6,000+ people networked across 48 offices, serving clients in 120+ countries. A champion of design, resiliency, and sustainability, Andy is a member of Gensler’s Board of Directors, spearheading design excellence strategies across Gensler’s diverse practice areas. Contact him at andy_cohen@gensler.com.

Published previously in
USGBC+ Magazine | LEED On series

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