Carl Elefante's letter to the editor in the Washington Post about Amazon's Arlington campus ... spot on:
"Amazon's Arlington campus should be exceptional, even inspiring. The updated plans indicate nothing of the sort. For example, Amazon's Arlington campus should, at a minimum and in a way that's consistent with climate mitigation best practices, be designed to net-zero carbon standards, offsetting the thousands of tons of embodied greenhouse-gas emissions that will result from constructing the campus.
Energy efficiency is but one of dozens of ways the Amazon project should be leading by example. After years of anticipation, Amazon's revised plans are profoundly disappointing. If not Amazon, who? If not at its Arlington campus, where? If not now, when?"
Could not disagree more, Charles.
First, the Committee on Design should consider it a win whenever the push for design quality as part of "the deal" negotiated by politicians and business owners makes it into the mainstream media. If only that were a daily occurrence, I'm GLAD to see it in the Washington Post and we need to consider in a forum such as this how to elevate other like situations, i.e. how to break them down into small words and short sentences so that even journalists can understand them.
Second, from the standpoint of design, I think that the push from the design community specifically on holistic sustainable design at the level of site planning, massing, solar orientation, etc., brings out a discussion that we need to engage more readily. Too often, designers' vision of such things ends at the property line - or the ground plane. Some architects' inability to integrate an understanding of ground water flows (and capture) across a site, in-ground infrastructure, and to think of total net energy as a fundamental design strategy is a shortcoming we see too often.
Third, I think that every instance when we can get such things into mass media like the Post is another chance that a lawmaker may alter their understanding of the importance of design in the public realm. If we can get it discussed more frequently it is harder for elected officials to overlook, partly because then more of their constituents see it and are likely to speak up about it to them.
Bottom line, I think Kira is right on to post something from the Post here in an effort a) to recognize it among professionals and b) to use it as a lever to further discussion of such matters within the forurm.