Etsy’s Town Hall space, adorned with locally made paper lanterns and flanked by greenscaping. Courtesy of Garrett Rowland/Gensler. Buildings are some of the largest sources of greenhouse-gas emissions; they’re also full of toxic chemicals that can make people sick. Eric Corey Freed, who was recently named director of sustainability at CannonDesign , summarizes the problem succinctly: “The way we build our buildings is stupid.” Freed has spent his career pushing the design profession to do better. He argues that architects should work with nature, rather than against it—specifically, by tapping into the potential of biomimicry and biophilic design for sustainable architecture. Biomimicry and biophilia aren’t new concepts, but many designers aren’t sure how to define (or differentiate between ) them. But Freed believes that, as the climate crisis escalates, the most important thing to understand is the incredible potential of these approaches. “The larger vision is getting us to zero-carbon, healthy, and vibrant buildings for all,” he says. “Mainstreaming biomimicry—designing the way nature does—and biophilic design—integrating nature into design—is a vital way to accomplish this.” And in a scenario like the one everyone is facing now, with people required to stay within the confines of their homes, it’s more […]

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