Kenneth J. Filarski is the founder and principal of FILARSKIARCHITECTURE+PLANNING+RESEARCH, an integrated architecture and planning, ecology design studio and research workshop. Founded in 1976 the studio has been recognized with national, regional, state, and local awards in architecture, planning, urban/rural/coastal design, sustainable building/ecological systems, and research from professional societies, government agencies, and citizens organizations. The firm’s innovative work goes beyond "Best Practice", it is "Next Practice".
Filarski is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects inducted in 1988, and a LEED Fellow inducted in 2018. He is one of the youngest architect inducted into the prestigious American Institute of Architects College of Fellows. His AIA Fellowship, which is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an American architect and his LEED Fellowship which is the highest honor in sustainability, places him in the rare company of only some 37 professionals in the world who hold these prestigious dual Fellowships, representing just 0.0094% of all AIA and LEED professionals. He is a LEED Accredited Professional with specialty in Building Design and Construction, one of the first SITES Accredited Professionals in the world, an AICP Certified Planner, a Certified Flood Plain Manager, a nationally Certified Disaster Responder Trainer, a nationally Certified Disaster Responder in addition to being a Trainer of Disaster Responder Trainers. Filarski holds a Master of Arts Degree in Architecture and Environmental Design from Goddard College where he was a Graduate Teaching Fellow in their innovative and internationally renown Design and Construction Program. At Goddard the students both designed and built the college’s sustainable facilities which were well ahead of their time. That work is now being internationally recognized not only for the building designs, which the Vermont Historical Preservation Commission termed that body of work being “unique to the state and the country”, but also because of the design/build model of sustainably integrating our built footprint gently on the land. The work at Goddard has been called, “monumental” in concept and execution. His Master’s Degree Thesis, "The Design of Logic/The Logic of Design" set the stage for the cognitive rigor and creative vision designing and framing the work he does to this day. Everyday, Ken and the firm are engaged in the holistic synergies of sustainable design, planning, policy, advocacy, and research. He is one of 25 individuals, and the only architect honored as one of the prestigious "Leaders and Achievers" in Rhode Island by the Providence Business News. In the 22 years of Clean Water Action’s prestigious awards, Ken is the only architect ever honored as their Champion and Environmental Advocate of the Year.
Ken is a founding faculty member in the School of Architecture, Art, and Historic Preservation at Roger Williams University teaching design studios, research, and technical courses. He also served as an Adjunct Faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design teaching a research and design studio on the social aspects of architecture and urban design. He has engaged architecture and urban planning with students in grades 4-12. Filarski is the host, co-producer for the globally broadcast program "Designing for Sustainability" on the Renewable Now Network.
Unique Multidisciplinary Professional Qualifications and Commitment
As an AIA Fellow, a LEED Fellow, one of the very first SITES Accredited Professionals in the world, a Certified Planner, who is also a Certified Flood Plain Manager, experienced in urban and regional design, coastal, estuarine, and riverine, and inland water body planning and design, and as a nationally certified disaster assistance responder and trainer, his professional standing and accomplishments in the range of interrelated disciplines is truly singular and unique. Filarski’s wide ranging breadth of interests and passionate explorations are reflected in his exceptional professional accomplishments, achieving high standing and recognition in highly complimentary and integrated disciplines.
• Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, The College of Fellows (FAIA); from 1988
• LEED Fellow, U.S. Green Building Council, Green Building Certification Inc.; from 2018
• Teaching Fellow, Graduate Design and Construction Program, Goddard College; 1972-1974
• Master of Arts Degree in Architecture and Environmental Design, Goddard College; 1974
• Richard Upjohn Fellow, The American Institute of Architects; from 1985
• Morse Stone Fellow, American Institute of Architects, Rhode Island Chapter; from 2017
• Registered Architect, State of Rhode Island, from 1976; North Carolina, from 2019
• National Council of Architectural Registration Boards Certificate holder (NCARB); from 1985
• Certified National Safety Assessment Program Officer and Trainer in Disaster Relief, State of California Office of Emergency Services; Rhode Island Architects and Engineers Emergency Response Task Force 7 (SAP+AEER); from 2011
• Certified Planner, American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP); from 1989
• Leadership in Energy and Design Accredited Professional, LEED AP with specialty in Building Design and Construction
(LEED-AP BD+C), U.S. Green Building Council; from 2009
• SITES Accredited Professional (SITES AP), First Group, The Sustainable SITES Initiative, U.S. Green Building Council, GBCI; from 2017
• Certified Flood Plain Manager (CFM) accredited by the Association of State Flood Plain Managers, recognized by FEMA; from 2001
• Certified Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) Professional, National Grid; from 2014
• USGBC Faculty, LEED and SITES, U.S. Green Building Council; from 2018
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ecology • social responsibility • sustainable environments • appropriate technology and economics 3 • 1
Ken is the 2021 and 2022 Co-Chair of the national AIA Disaster Assistance Committee addressing disaster response, recovery, mitigation, preparedness, and enhanced local design and planning assistance focused for communities with his concept of establishing AIA Design Innovation+Rapid Response Teams (DIRRT). Early in his career he served on the prestigious National Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects and played a major role in shaping the AIA’s relationship to its 300+ chapter components, to the general public, and the education community. He chaired three national committees for the AIA: the Component Resources Committee, the Public Education Committtee, and the Environmental Education Committee. In Architectural Record editorials, world famed editor Walter Wagner FAIA, stated the as the best program ever developed for getting the public to care about good design and environmental education, and was further recognized by Metropolitan Home magazine, in their Design 100. Filarski’s leadership in public engagement and effective community participation in design has been recognized with honors received from the White House, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Conservation Education Association, and Architectural Record Magazine. Over the years his enthusiastic and effective design/planning charrettes, workshops, and conference presentations have successfully engaged over 38,000 young children, teens, and adults.
Ken is Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council Rhode Island, and a founding Board Member of USGBC RI. His firm is a National Member Company of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). He serves as Vice Chair of the LEED Location and Planning Technical Advisory Group, as a member of the LEED Technical Committee, and served on the LEED Fellows Evaluation Committee. Ken Chaired the Upper Northeast Region USGBC Committee. Filarski is Vice Chair of the Ratepayers Advisory Board of the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities Commission established by law to ensure environmental justice in heating assistance for the underserved people in the State. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Providence/Cranston Workforce Development Board and Chair of the Veterans Committee developing the just transition for the underserved with good paying jobs in the green economy. He serves on the team of the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition, and is Co-Chair of EnergizeRI an initiative enacting carbon dividend legislation in Rhode Island. He is Vice Chair of the Rhode Island Floodplain Managers Association developing coalitions, policies, programs, and actions for sustainable and just hazard mitigation and preparedness. Author of Rhode Island’s historic Green Buildings Act, RIGL 37-24, wherein RI is the first state incorporating LEED, LEED for Neighborhood Development, and SITES for all public projects over 10,000 square feet, Ken has been appointed to the Green Buildings Advisory Committee and will serve as the first public member Chair. The Green Buildings Act is a strategic tool to implement Act On Climate RIGL 42-6.2.
Ken serves on the climate-important and influential Advisory Board for the Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Coordinating Coordinating Council (EC4) appointed by the President of the RI Senate, developing the State’s strategies and implementation actions achieving net-zero ghg emissions economy-wide by 2050 and 100% renewable energy by 2030 in accordance with the objectives of Act On Climate, RIGL 42-6.2.
He served as 2022 and 2021 Co-Chair of the National Disaster Assistance Committee of the American Institute of Architects, and is President and founder of the RI Architects & Engineers Emergency Response Task Force 7. Their work in resiliency and disaster response in Huricane Sandy received a National Service Award from the American Institute of Architects in Washington, D.C. Ken received a National Best Practice Award in LEED for Neighborhood Development from the U.S. Green Building Council and the Land Use Law Center, Pace Law School for his work as Chair of the Cranston Green Building Commission.
Ken was honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award by President Barack Obama for his work with the transformation of USGBC’s national and community networks and programs supporting sustainability and resiliency. He is honored as one of 25 Rhode Islanders in the prestigious"Leaders and Achievers" Awardees and the only architect so honored. by the Providence Business News. PBN also featured Ken in the "5 Questions" feature, and in the full page "One Last Thing - Build A Healthy Ecology…I design things, places, and ideas…".
Ken served as the Grant Consultant/Grant Writer for the City of Cranston and non profit organizations, over several years. In those roles he secured grants in excess of several millions of dollars for public projects, community development, supportive services for affordable housing, commercial fishing piers, solar photovoltaic projects for schools and parking lots and identified multiple energy savings projects.
Sustainability and Resiliency
Formerly Filarski was a senior coastal zone planner and architect working with the RI Division of Coastal Resources and the RI Coastal Resources Management Council. There he developed a system of coastal reaches, identifying discrete segments and sectors of coastline and waters according to their unique ecologoical, geographic, geologic, land/waterscape characteristics and uses. He developed a system of quantitative/qualitative analysis of aesthetic resources of the coastal zone, and developed the first master plan for the Port of Galilee, a major East coast fishing port. His work also involved the gamut from policy development for off-shore fishing to the analysis of specific property development for the industry. Filarski was a senior planner with the RI Department of Community Affairs providing comprehensive planning and development ser vices to eight Rhode Island cities and towns. He served on the RI Flood Audit Task Force, producing the Task Force’s Feasibility Report.
Filarski was the only architect in private practice serving on the National American Society of Civil Engineers/Structural Engineering Institute, ASCE/SEI 24-14 Committee developing the nationally recognized "Flood Resistant Design and Construction", the building code and standard for structures in flood hazard areas and the coastal zones. Filarski is also a member and President of the Board for the RI Architects and Engineers Emergency Response Task Force 7, a responding unit of the RI Emergency Management Agency. In that capacity he was was deployed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy evaluating buildings for structural integrity and life safety parameters. RI AEER TF-7 was honored with a National Service Award from the American Institute of Architects in Washington, D.C. for their disaster response work. Filarski is a national Safety Assessment Program (SAP) disaster responder, and nationally qualified as a SAP Trainer and as a SAP Train the Trainer in Disaster Relief by the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) for earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, cyclone, tornado, and hazardous material disasters. He serves as the AIA State Disaster Coordinator for Rhode Island and on the national Disaster Assistance Committee of the American Institute of Architects, co-authoring the "Re-occupancy Assessment Tool" for COVID-19, the AIA Reopening America… and the "AIA Disaster Assistance Handbook, Third and Fourth Edition". The "Tool" became the basis for one of the first USGBC LEED Safety First Pilot Credits.
With his current work in the On The Edge project he is observing and documenting the impact that coastal, estuarine, or riverine water rise through storm surge, rain, or sea level change can impact a small, blue collar, summer colony on the Rhode Island coast line. A part of the overall premise for the project is that if the human, economic, and ecosystem issues can not be addressed and become manageable at the smaller scale for sustainability - our achieving positive results at a larger, more complex urban scale is diminished. Essentially, if we can’t solve the problem at the smaller micro scale, how can we solve it at the larger macro scale where the dynamics of our ecology is far more complex? The project is a look at sustainable, cost effective models for potential solutions to our complex coastal dynamics and resiliency.
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ecology • social responsibility • sustainable environments • appropriate technology and economics 3 • 2
He has presented his innovative research and work on sustainable systems, sustainable hazard mitigation, and coastal planning and design at international, national, regional, and state professional conferences and conventions for professional and governmental organizations and societies. He is an expert in sustainability, hazard mitigation, climate adaptation, community resilience, and disaster response and assistance. He developed education building skills and knowledge in resilience and adaptation to create safer and more economically sustainable communities, improving the economic competitiveness. Filarski has demonstrated how LEED for Neighborhood Development and SITES are highly effective tool for sustainable hazard mitigation and planning, presenting at the national conferences of the AIA, ASLA, USGBC, Association of State Flood Plain Managers, at regional and state Emergency Management Agencies, and at regional and state conferences of flood plain management professionals. Following Superstorm Sandy he assisted communities RI with their resiliency plans and securing grant funding for technical assistance using LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND). Quietly, Filarski is developing applications of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED-ND and SITES to regional and local comprehensive planning, zoning ordinances, and coastal zone planning.
LEED-ND was effectively used in his award winning neighborhood revitalization plans for Olneyville, "Only in Olneyville", and Smith Hill, "SmithHillNOW", identifying for the first time, and coordinating the two plans, to leverage and magnify the ecological and economic potential and the power of the Woonasquatucket River Corridor linking the two neighborhoods.
Sustainability and Advocacy
Ken co-authored the initial Green Buildings Act, RIGL 37-24 of 2009, wherein Rhode Island became the first state in the nation to adopt LEED as public law. That was historic. He then authored the legislation and led the successful coalition advocacy effort in Rhode Island to amend the Rhode Island Green Buildings Act to include LEED for Neighborhood Development and SITES - the Sustainable SITES Initiative as companion guiding frameworks in addition to LEED in the current Act, for all public buildings, public structures, and public real property of state agencies and all political subdivisions thereof. With the 2017 amendments to the Green Buildings Act, Rhode Island is the first state in the nation to adopt LEED for Neighborhood Development and SITES as public law. The Green Buildings Act is again historic legislation. In recognition of Ken’s leadership and vision on the Green Buildings Act, Clean Water Action named Ken as their 2018 Champion and Environmental Advocate of the Year, receiving honors from Rhode Island’s entire Congressional Delegation. In the 22 years of the Champion Awards by Clean Water Action, this is the only time that anyone from the architecture, engineering, construction, or development field was presented with this honor.
Ken was a member of the team which successfully achieved the enactment of the Resilient Rhode Island Act of 2014, RIGL 42-6.2, leading to the epic Act On Climate of 2021. Subsequent to that effort EnergizeRI was organized introducing carbon pricing legislation into the RI General Assembly. That legislation is re-introduced in this Session of the General Assembly. Ken is Co-Chair of EnergizeRI.
"LEED for Neighborhood Development is potentially the most transformative and powerful tool we have for influencing and establishing holistic and sustainable communities. But we have to use it. LEED-ND's inherent power and its beauty begins by integrating its holistic framework into our comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, and subdivision regulations so we can create and guide the sustainable future for the
places we call home, neighborhood, community...and earth."
• quote of Kenneth J. Filarski, U.S. Green Building Council publication “Local Government & LEED for Neighborhood Development”
Sustainability ~ Architecture, Planning, Design, and Community
Ken is currently working on Positive Energy buildings and holistic, integrated and sustainable community plans, wherein the projects produce more energy than they consume. That approach is evident in his vision for the development of the Elmwood/Wellington Corridor as a 231 acre sustainable and resilient, mixed use, urban, transit oriented neighborhood development in Cranston, RI along the Pawtuxet RIver, location of the the historic 500 year, Spring Floods of 2010, incorporating commuter rail service into a potential LEED for Neighborhood Development Platinum Project.
His award winning comprehensive community plan for Glocester, RI was ahead of its time, embracing ecology and smart growth principles to integrate nine separate state mandated planning elements under a Preferred Future and integrating each of the prescribed state mandated elements, and defining them and the actions of the plan through three guiding themes of Rural Character, Appropriate Economy, and Good Government.
In the On The Edge project for a Rhode Island summer colony - Roy Carpenter’s Beach - he is demonstrating how common sense, insight, ecological sensitivity result in a design and a plan which at first blush would appear radical, but is a methodical, practical, and cost effective solution to coastal planning and design. The project integrates the Aesop’s Fables principle of "a bundle of sticks", relocation of the 383 cottages landward, swapping their place with an existing cornfield on the property (creating a Roy's Coastal Corn enterprise), while also raising the vernacular cottages and replicating their placement onto elevated ADA accessible decks, arranging the decks in a sliding fashion outside the flood zones. Parking is consolidated back next to the landward town road running along the property, cars are no longer allowed parked hither and dither around the cottages.
His proposal for “A Net Zero School/School as Hero~School As Community/Community As School” was a major workshop presentation at Build Boston/ABX, the acclaimed international design conference. He is continuing that work to develop dynamic schools by optimizing the building envelope for positive energy dynamics, and optimizing the building volume and spaces for positive learning dynamics.
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The positive energy, earth sheltered, vegetated roof locker room facility for athletic teams and performing arts groups which will be located in an existing semi-circular earth berm at the southern end of The Cranston Stadium is a significant project in the works. Filarski not only developed the concept and the design, but he also raised $400,000 in grant funding he authored. The project will be a model prototype of green infrastructure wherein the project will be highly regenerative, greatly multiplying the ecosystems services of the existing site and the surrounding dense neighborhood and Spectacle Pond, while invigorating the commercial corridor and transit a block away. This project is targeting Triple Platinum Certification in LEED, LEED for Neighborhood Development, and SITES - The Sustainable SITES Initiative.
Filarski developed the first Master Plan for the Port of Galilee, a major commercial fishing port and tourist destination on the East Coast. In the process of developing the plan, he facilitated the first joint meetings of the fin fishermen, shell fishermen, and recreational fishermen who until that time because of competing fishing and docking interests did not interact with one another. He also developed and led these significant project initiative which had Quonset/Davisville Design Assistance Team - Q/D DAT, the Rhode Island Statehouse Design Assistance Team-DAT; and the Masonic Temple and Veterans Memorial Auditorium Master Plan which is a significant historic neighbor to the RI State House.
Filarski continues his investigations in polyhedral transformation, loose and close packing polyhedral systems, and saddle polyhedra as being pertinent to his HOMe Housing System designs and other building systems he first developed as an architecture student at The Catholic University of America. The HOMe Housing System is a national award winner from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Building Value Into Housing Program for sustainable and affordable home design. The project has been expanded to a Baby Bear, Mama Bear, from the original Papa Bear sizes and designs. His award winning designs for 21 affordable homes in the early 1990‘s established those solutions as keys to architecture and new urbanism projects, and was an early example of sustainable thinking. The designs achieved U.S Department of Energy Four Star Energy Ratings and the urban neighborhood design and patterns were forerunners of LEED-ND.
His award winning work in both architecxure and planning for the Foster Town Hall, the Pawtucket Senior Center in National Register Historic Districts, the Smith Hill Historic Districts Preservation Plan (5 National Register Historic Districts) and the International Scholar~Athlete Hall of Fame were recognized as sensitive designs of buildings and additions within historic patterns and contexts incorporating sustainability with building and site design. The Leon A. Mathieu Senior Center in Pawtucket, RI, the Quonset Air Museum in North Kingstown, RI and the Masonic Temple in Providence, RI are award winning projects demonstrating Filarski’s creative use of sustainable design applied to adaptive re-use of existing historic buildings.
Sustainability ~ Nano Tecnology and Grant Consulting
Ken also provides design and architectural services to nano technology companies and as a grant consultant to governments, and to nano technology other municipal projects his work includes developing the program and funding for alternate fuel vehicles for municipal school bus fleet and elderly service van fleets. He developed a 50kW photovoltaic panels array installation and educational programs for public school buildings. Other municipal focused work includes the conversion of the maintenance of city street lights to municipal responsibility and replacement of existing street lights to energy efficient, safety enhancing LED streetlights, saving $1.9 million annually to the City of Cranston, RI, and securing over $13 million in grant funding and energy savings.
He is the architecture and design consultant to an international nano technology company combining graphene and aerogel having the lightest, strongest, and thermally efficient properties in developing practical applications including its virus killing ink on air filters and building filtration systems, lightweigh protective armouring, thermal cooling for aerospace and wind turbines, added strength to structural systems to cite a few.
Sustainability ~ Architecture, Planning, and Research
"Design of Logic/Logic of Design ~ The Beautiful Interrelationship of Cognitive Development, Design, and Ecology"
…the Experience of a Unique Education and Unique Mentors
FILARSKI earned a Master of Arts Degree in Architecture and Environmental Design & Planning from Goddard College in Vermont and was a Graduate Teaching Fellow in the first-of-its-kind, Design & Construction Program, now widely replicated, leading student teams in developing the college’s master plan, designing and actually constructing the school’s sustainable buildings - studios for the fine arts, welding, dance, theater, design; themed dormitories - all touching gently on and within the landscape. At Goddard he worked with David Sellers FAIA, the internationally renown architect and inventor named as one of the 100 best architects in the world by Architectural Digest.
The collaborative work at Goddard opened new thinking for design/build architecture and sustainable design and energy. The work at Goddard is now being internationally recognized not only for the building designs, which the Vermont Historical Preservation Commission termed that body of work being “unique to the state and the country”, but also because of the design/build model of sustainably integrating our built footprint gently on the land. The work at Goddard has been called, “monumental” in concept and execution.
His 1974 Master’s Degree Thesis in Architecture and Environmental Design from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, entitled “Design of Logic/Logic of Design ~ The Beautiful Interrelationship of Cognitive Development, Design, and Ecology” developed the parameters of the qualitative and quantitative measures of design through environmental research discovering the parallels of the way the human mind develops thinking abilities as a child - cognitive development - and the understanding of the space and the topological/projective/euclidean world around the human being - is design and design thinking.
Inspiration for this direction in thinking emanated from insights Ken gained through his reading and research of the work of the renown Swiss psychologist and researcher Jean Piaget. His masters degree review committee heralded his thesis as a seminal work integrating ecology, cognitive development, the planning and design process. The thesis in written and visual form provides examples of this integration leading to the formation of organization frameworks for design thinking, responsive environments, polyhedral assembly and transformation, and the resulting application of those elements to energy dynamics, sustainability, housing design, learning environments, and creativity in prefabrication and modular construction. The DESIGN OF LOGIC/LOGIC OF DESIGN thesis demonstrated the close links, parallels and congruency of the design process with cognitive development in children. He continues that research and the application of that research to this day.
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ecology • social responsibility • sustainable environments • appropriate technology and economics 3 • 4
His Master’s Degree Thesis and the collaborative work at Goddard opened new thinking for design/build architecture and sustainable design/planning/energy. That research continues with new works in progress demonstrating that design can be quantified and integrated into patterns that can respond through the building, urban envelope, and interior space to the dynamics of human conditions and needs, the dynamics of the energy, and the dynamics of the environmental forces around the building, the context of place, and the Working Landscape. All space and all thinking is an environment for learning.
Filarski is privileged to have worked with the two of the world’s great thinkers, Buckminster Fuller at Southern Illinois University, researching and developing integrated design strategies and complex analysis of macro and micro data and trends in Energy, Shelter, Food, Transportation, and Water as part of Bucky Fuller’s ongoing World Game for what he called our house - Spaceship Earth. He also worked with Paolo Soleri, assisting Paolo with the development and installation of Soleri’s first major retrospective exhibit of his work at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Sustainability ~ Community Service and Advocacy, a Citizen Architect
Filarski is very active in many facets of the Rhode Island and New England community, and has been since the 1970’s. He was a key member and leader in many civic and professional groups moving community development forward for the revitalization and renaissance of the urban core and neighborhoods of Providence, RI. Filarski was Chair of the Upper Northeast Regional Committee of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and is also Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council Rhode Island, two influential and idea setting organizations of the U.S. Green Building Council. He was Chair of the Upper Northeast LEED for Neighborhood Development Regionalization Task Force for the USGBC, a member of the LEED 2012 Regionalization Task Force, and a founding Board Member of the U.S. Green Building Council Rhode Island.
He also served on the USGBC National Chapter Steering Committee actively shaping the strategies and practices that will transform the national organization for the next twenty years in their comprehensive Network Evolution. In that process he was highly active in the three main working groups and their nine task forces: Structure, Mission+Engagement, and Business+Operations. Ken has proposed evolving the LEED program from that of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design to a companion one of Leadership in ECOLOGY and Environmental Design.
The work of Filarski and the Upper Northeast Regional Committee proved critical in evolving the seven state Chapters of the Upper Northeast Region of the U.S. Green Building Council - the six New England States and upstate New York, north of Westchester County - to be DOING THE EXTRAORDINARY, creating, nurturing, and developing the Big Ideas that are bubbling up, surfacing, and invigorating our thought and action in the region. The resulting focus of the Region’s collective body of knowledge will address regional issues which are geo-spatial, cutting across traditional geo-political boundaries, and applied to the local contexts in our communities. The region’s collaboration is focused on: Sustainability, Resiliency and Climate Change, Green Infrastructure, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Healthy Buildings, Healthy Communities, and Human Wellness.
He served on the Leadership Team of the RI Zero Energy Buildings (ZEB) Task Force developing programs for achieving ZEB throughout RI by 2035, sponsored by National Grid and the RI Office of Energy Resources. He served as a member of the Zero Net Energy Buildings Leadership Group of the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership. Filarski is cofounder of The Bamboo Project and founder of INCommunity, two non profit initiatives integrating education, the environment, and the economy in Rhode Island. The Bamboo Project incorporates both research and application of the plant as a sustainable material for building systems and sustainable hazard mitigation. Bamboo is being used in the classroom embracing S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) education principles, will stabilize a fragile riverine environment, and provide economic development opportunities with jobs and as a source of business entrepreneurship.
Ken served as Vice President and Treasurer and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Environmental Council of RI, a statewide coalition of 65 organizations representing over 47,000 members. He is a member of the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition, a statewide coalition of 46 government, private, and non profits organizations. He was Co-Chair of Energize RI developing State legislation for fair pricing of fossil fuels based on carbon impacts. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Providence/Cranston Workforce Deveopment Board (P/C WDB), serving on the Executive Committee and chairs the Veterans Committee. In his roles with USGBC RI Green Veterans Program, the P/C WDB, and the RI AFL-CIO he is forging a collaborative effort of sustainability, green jobs workforce development, and community betterment. He is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Rate Payers Advisory Board for the RI Division of Public Utilities Commission (PUC) whose mission is advise the PUC on the effects of utility rates on low income households and small businesses.
He served as Chair of the City of Cranston Green Building Commission. Filarski’s work as Chair of the Cranston Green Building Commission is recognized as a National Best Practice for its innovative work by the U.S. Green Building Council and the Land Use Law Center of Pace Law School. He is continuing his research on the correlation between cognitive development and design; prototype learning environments; prototype housing systems; community applications of LEED for Neighborhood Development as a transformative tool for sustainability; and the Sustainable Community Bonding program, a financing mechanism for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. He actively demonstrates that LEED for Neighborhood Development and SITES are highly effective tools and strategic guides for sustainable hazard mitigation. These efforts are becoming all the more critical with sea level rise and climate change dynamics coming to the forefront.
His sustainable design and planning work enhancing the ecology of coastal communities has been presented at many conferences, including the national conference of the American Institute of Architects - AIA; the American Society of Landscape Architects - ASLA; the Association of State Flood Plain Managers - ASFPM; global, national and regional Summits, Town Halls and "Ask the Expert" sessions of the U.S. Green Building Council; Build Boston; ABX; the Land and Water Conservation Summit; the Rhode Island Flood Plain Managers Association Annual Conferences; the Grow Smart RI Power of Place Conferences; the New England Regional Conferences of the American Institute of Architects; the Southern New England American Planning Association Annual Conferences; and the International GRO (Growth, Resiliency, Opportunity) Conference. Since 2010 Filarski has been the only practicing architect continuously participating in the prestigious Rhode Island Energy, Environmental and Ocean Leaders Day created by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. In 2017 Ken began globally broadcasting the series, "Designing For Sustainability", on the Renewable Now Network (RNN).
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ecology • social responsibility • sustainable environments • appropriate technology and economics 3 • 5
What we do…
From our beginning in 1976 and now, the studio and workshop is dedicated to innovation and excellence in design and planning creating a working landscape of ecology directed toward social responsibility and stewardship, lifelong learning, sustainable and renewable environments, and appropriate technology and economics in our urban, rural, coastal, corporate, and ecological communities. The firm and its principal has successfully brought together and engaged over 38,000 people of all ages, from very young children to the elders of our society in a wide range of public workshops, planning and design charrettes, and design assistance teams.
The firm is fully engaged in sustainability, resiliency, green design, smart growth, new urbanism, smart codes, conservation development, and complete streets well before anyone had names for those practices. Our work goes beyond Best Practice, our work is Next Practice, having its foundation and execution in ecology, encompassing the firm’s research in what is called the E’s OF ECOLOGY ~ environment, essence, elegance, egress, extensions, efficiency, economy, education, ethics, equality, energy, and eclecticism. We are futurists traveling well beyond horizons - but respecting the context of historical and present day patterns with the knowledge and understanding of the here and now. We see and craft the BIG PICTURE with BIG IDEAS while cognizant of making details work. Much of the firm’s diverse project portfolio are innovative and prototype works with the designs and planning work breaking new ground in their invention and application to real world settings. Again, our work goes beyond best practice, our work is NEXT PRACTICE.
Our current work, research, and applied research is focused on positive energy systems and solutions for buildings and communities, and solutions addressing continuum of holistic resiliency and sustainability from policy to implementation and action. Every day we work on sustainability and resiliency for: building systems and products, cradle to cradle regenerative life cycles, historic structures and places, systems frameworks, design and green infrastructure for urban, rural, coastal and riverine communities, and integrated/holistic design and planning for communities. The firm braids the expertise that is, as Goldilocks would say "just right", for each project. What we do, we try very hard to do well.