A new generation of architects, engineers and others is spearheading a radically different approach to building design in Los Angeles. Green, or sustainable, building still plays only a minor role in the industry, but the following standouts are at the forefront of a movement that could well revolutionize the industry in the coming decade.

Elizabeth Moule
Age: 46
Title: Principal
Organization: Moule & Polyzoides/Architects and Urbanists
Education: B.A. Smith College; Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York City; Masters in Architecture from Princeton University.
Job Description: Designs buildings, towns and in-fill developments that consider sustainability from the large regional perspective (i.e. eliminating vehicular travel needed to reach a site) down to the smallest recyclable materials.

Past Green Building Projects: The recently completed National Resources Defense Council headquarters in Santa Monica, which was awarded a Platinum rating under the current LEED 2.1, green building rating system. Sustainable elements like recapturing rainwater to flush toilets and sensors that turn lights off when someone leaves a room have made the structure the greenest building on the planet. "It scored higher than any building in the history of the LEED rating system. And that did not even account for the neighborhood development issues we addressed like parking, traffic, and proximity to transportation."

Current Projects: 200-acre mixed-use (retail, residential office, and hotel) sustainable development in Rancho Mirage. Neighborhoods are pedestrian-oriented and encircle a natural desert "greenbelt." Water conservation, storage, and re-use throughout, along with photovoltaic solar cells on each structure. "With a large development, energy issues can be solved at the street level. Buildings will be configured to optimize solar exposure and shade direction; streets will be made out of semi-permeable materials to aid water conversation."

Interest in Green Building: "My father was an aeronautical engineer who sent Apollo rockets to the moon; my grandfather built cars for General Motors. That background was mixed with growing up in Southern California, where I watched suburbanization destroy the natural habitats my family cherished. Architecture was a chance for me to build beautiful spaces that added, not detracted from the environment."

Environmental Philosophy: Moule says the most sustainable city she's ever seen is Rome, Italy, where a limited space has been recycled, compacted and reiterated over hundreds of generations. "We're interested in the broadest possible resource reduction through the fewest number of moves. We want to create spaces that last many lifetimes and don't need to be remade."


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