Gunnar Hubbard, FAIA, has been a sustainable design leader for many years. He has served on the Maine AIA board of directors, he chaired Maine’s COTE chapter for many years—which included organizing a regional leadership summit—and he has worked within the USGBC as well. He is no stranger to AIA COTE, having worked with the team in the 1990s on such efforts as the Greening of the White House.
Joining the national AIA COTE Advisory Group at this time feels, he says, like coming full circle. Hubbard is coming back to the AIA, at a time when he believes that architecture needs to take a stronger leadership role in sustainable design. He feels energized to help advance that mission and prove that architecture for all types of uses can be “beautiful, meet the client’s budget, and perform wicked good.”
The “sandbox” Hubbard plays in now is that of Thornton Tomasetti, a large, multidisciplinary engineering firm with a commitment to sustainability leadership. “It’s a great place to be,” says Hubbard, who serves as principal and sustainability practice leader there, operating from the Portland, Maine, office. “We are developing tools to help build and operate buildings better,” Hubbard says. “I get to do that in the U.S. and around the world -- there are innovations everywhere and much to be both learned and shared.”
Running a consultancy practice within a leadership-driven engineering company is where Hubbard feels he could make the greatest a difference. “I think that this realm of architecture—knowing how to collaborate with design teams in a different way—this should not be scary or weird,” he says. “In this branch of architecture, you have to collaborate with design teams in a different way. We look at buildings holistically, taking into account aesthetics, performance, and environmental impact. Architects shouldn’t wait for clients to raise the idea of greener buildings. It is up to us to start the dialog. The design community has a moral obligation to make a difference by creating projects that emphasize occupant health and sustainability. This is not happening as consistently as it should, and I’m eager to help change that.”