Bob Berkebile

Green building legend Bob Berkebile, scheduled for the the next Inspire Speakers series, has devoted his architecture career to restoring social, environmental, and economic vitality of communities. He calls it Urban Acupuncture.

Just as traditional Chinese acupuncture serves as a complimentary health approach,  Berkebile has helped communities restore balance through smart and sustainable design and architecture.

“Any city on the planet I’ve ever visited suffers from obsolete thinking and systems—particularly in America,” says Berkebile who has traveled to every continent. “Most of our primary operating systems like energy, water, power, transportation, and food systems are either ten years or centuries obsolete.”

Urban Acupuncture examines these systems and gives us the opportunity to create new buildings and neighborhoods rather than staying on a path that science charted centuries ago.

In 1970, Berkebile founded BNIM, a multi-disciplinary firm of architects, landscapers, and graphic designers who are innovators in designing high-performance environments, with headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.

He will speak on Thursday, March 13th at the Inspire Speakers Series at Phipps Conservatory, the Green Building Alliance’s monthly lecture featuring nationally renowned experts in sustainability.

His focus? His most innovative projects, such as Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus—the university’s project to build the nation’s first sustainable campus—and The Omega Center for Sustainable Living at the Omega Institute, the first building in the world to achieve the Living Building Challenge and LEED Platinum certifications.

Berkebile will also address the Bancroft School Apartments in Kansas City’s Manheim Park neighborhood, which was a collaboration with Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation to renovate an existing school into healthy, affordable, and LEED Platinum rental units with community amenities.

The architect helped form the Green Building Council and the Living Building Challenge, a green building program that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today and acts to diminish the gap between current limits and ideal solutions.

Amy Piccirilli, YMCA Sustainability Coordinator in Pittsburgh, will join Berkebile to talk about  how her organization is embodying the idea of urban acupuncture.

Click here for more info and to register for the event.

Amanda King is a freelance multimedia journalist whose work can be seen on MSNBC.COM and a number of local publications, from the Post-Gazette to the Beaver County Times. A former journalist for the Bucks County Courier Times, she reported on NJ Gov. Chris Christie. She received her BA in Broadcast Journalism from Point Park University and is working on her first short film about 'The Modern Day Nanny', which examines how technology and education affect this traditional career. She loves telling stories with a social & educational impact.