Category Archives: Sustainability

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes @ The Phipps Conservatory

I truly believe that when you put out energy that is in line with your deeper intentions, everything begins to fall into place. The decision to photograph the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania occurred spontaneously when I discovered the Center for Sustainable Landscapes.

While having a conversation with a young woman at my table during Build Business 2019, I was excitedly sharing my plans to head over to Pittsburg after the conference to photograph Chatham University’s Net Positive Eden Campus designed by Mithun (stay tuned for this project)… She then asked me if I was planning on visiting the Phipps Conservatory? I was unaware of Phipps, but after hearing what she had to say I was determined to add it to my schedule.

This chance encounter and conversation led me to the opportunity to photograph one of the most sustainable buildings in the world.

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens generates all of its own energy and treats all storm and sanitary water captured on-site. It is the first and only building to meet four of the highest green certifications:

•    Living Building Challenge, the world’s most rigorous green building standard
•    LEED® Platinum — tied for the highest points awarded under version 2.2
•    First SITES™ Platinum project
•    First WELL Building Platinum project (pilot)

The center’s mission is, “To inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research;…”

To read more about their work, follow this link.

Chatham University – Eden Hall Campus – Falk School of Sustainability & Environment

Another outstanding execution of sustainable design by one of the most impressive firms I have come across. I found Eden Hall Campus at Chatham University while researching innovative design projects for my sustainability portfolio. Designed by MITHUN, this was an inspiration to document from the ground below and skies above. 

Located on 388 acres 18 miles north of Pittsburg, The Eden Hall Campus was created with a sustainable focus at its core. The Falk School of Sustainability & Environment is an inspiration and is paving the way for eco-friendly design.

Students on this campus truly live and breathe the challenges and solutions for integrating sustainable systems into their daily lives. This is an immersive and effective way to experiment and learn. 

Rainwater is collected on site and the overall campus generates more energy than it uses. On site food production is utilized in the cafe and ALL waste nutrients (even human), produced on campus are recycled back into the soil. As a result the site nourishes local habitats and healthy soils while also supporting a curriculum that builds eco-literacy. 

The “new farm” as they reference it, is an inspiring landscape supporting health and wellness while advancing an important idea –  that suburban land can be developed as a net positive resource for urban areas. 

By far the most exciting part of the shoot was flying my drone over the campus. Seeing the site from a bird’s eye view is the most incredible way to display the execution of the overall design. Solar Panels, cisterns, gardens and the flow of the site captured from a single vantage point.

The Eden Hall campus at Chatham University has been received many outstanding awards:

  • LEED Platinum Certified
  • 2018 Best Green Schools Award
  • 2017 AIA Committee of the Environment
  • The Falk School of Sustainability at Eden Hall Campus is a 2018 Environmental Leadership Award recipient, recognized by the Pennsylvania Resources Council.

LEED Platinum Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford

I am excited to finally share with you the imagery we created for the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.  With USGB’s LEED Platinum Certification, the new LPCH facility is the first of its kind on the West Coast, 2nd children’s facility, and only the 5th hospital in the world to achieve this designation. It was an honor to photograph the interiors for the design and construction team:  design architects Perkins + Will, executive architects HGA, and DPR Construction. 

We are continuing to capture the final elements of the project as they come to completion.

This month the project landed the cover of HealthCare Design Magazine. Check out the full article with more of my imagery here.

For a full comprehensive set of images visit the Healthcare Gallery on my website.

5 Keys School on Wheels for Adults!!

Designed by Deanna Van Buren, co-founder of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, this awesome mobile school for adults is the first of its kind in the nation. Five Keys Charter School plans to bring “The Self-Determination Project” directly into some of San Francisco’s most neglected communities to increase residents’ immediate access to programs and achieve their high school diploma. Donated by SF Muni and outfitted by google, the bus has been completely transformed into a state-of-the-art classroom.

I was honored to be part of this project!

Click here to view a touching video about this program and its impact.

Click here to read more about it.


Bishop O’Dowd – A Top Green School!

Awarded the U.S. Department of Education’s highest Green Ribbon designation in 2016, Bishop O’Dowd High School has a division strictly dedicated to sustainability. This division recommends and implements a wide range of programs to enable greater sustainability practices both on campus and in the community at large.

Part of its dedication to this directive was the creation of Bishop O’Dowd’s Environmental Studies Building. Designed by Siegel & Strain Architects and the Bishop O’Dowd sustainability team, this Zero Net Energy and Zero Net Water building was constructed in part with materials harvested from the site. The structure facilitates an hands-on environmental education program where the students learn about sustainability first hand.




BNIM – Landscape Architecture

Landscape architecture is a powerful component when integrating new structures within an existing campus. BNIM’s landscape architecture team did an incredible job on the Pacific Center Campus project in San Diego. Bridging the old with the new, they created pleasant, drought tolerant environments and pathways for the employees to enjoy throughout the day.



Pavement to Parks – Perkins+Will Playland @ 43rd Ave.

6-16_PW_Playland-474-EditSan Francisco’s “Pavements to Parks” program is an incredible organization that is testing the possibilities of underutilized areas along San Francisco’s streets and public rights-of way. Designed to be public laboratories for the City to work with communities and test new ideas in public, the projects are meant to be temporary with a possibility of permanence.

Designed Pro-bono by Perkins + Will, “Playland at 43rd Avenue” is an awesome demonstration of how transformative this program can be.

6-16_PW_Playland-294-Edit-Edit6-16_PW_Playland-052-EditPavement to Parks, Perkins+Will, ©EmilyHagopian6-16_PW_Playland-398-Edit6-16_PW_Playland-217-Edit


VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre – Perkins+Will

sustainable design, LEED, Living Building Challange, Organic ArchitectureIntegrating both organic architectural design and sustainable building practices, the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre in Vancouver is by far the most beautiful project included in my study of deep green architecture thus far.
sustainable design, LEED, Living Building Challange, Organic ArchitectureDesigned by Perkins+Will and engineered by Integral Group, the VanDusen Visitor Centre was named the Most Sustainable Building of 2014 by World Architecture News and was Canada’s first project to apply for Living Building Certification. With LEED-NC-Platinum certification the structure was designed to be net-zero energy, net-zero waste, and net-zero water.
sustainable design, LEED, Living Building Challange, Organic ArchitectureIn photographing the VanDusen I really wanted to see if I could capture something a little bit more than had been captured in the past. Structurally the building is breathtaking, no doubt. However, could the careful addition of people into the imagery bring this space to life?  I think so…

6-16_VanDusen815-Edit 6-16_VanDusen444-Edit 6-16_VanDusen401-EditIt was such an honor to photograph this site and to continue giving the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre the publicity it deserves. It is an exciting addition to my collection of Deep Green Building and has energized me to keep the project moving forward.

For the full photo shoot please visit the “New Work” gallery on my website:



The Heart of the Tenderloin

11-15_PerkinsWill_TenderloinMuseum-0147_FinalNow, don’t get me wrong. I love photographing high-profile commercial projects. But to be truly honest, the work that brings me the most joy are those that are actively working toward uplifting the community they serve.
Architecture and design firm Perkins+Will did an awesome pro-bono historic renovation for the new Tenderloin Museum in San Francisco. This project, though small in scale, has an impact beyond measure. Focused on the rich history of the Tenderloin, known as a seedier part of the city, this museum shines a light on the neighborhood’s role in shaping San Franciscan heritage and American culture over the years.
While on-site photographing this project it became clear that the locals have established a symbiotic relationship with the museum and its general manager—the museum staff and neighbors look out for each other, and the museum has become a safe-haven for the city’s most vulnerable residents. It was inspiring to see the real ways in which the museum honors the community they represent.

For more information about this project visit the Perkins + Will blog.







The Road to Net Zero


I recently had the privilege to photograph DPR’s Net Zero offices in San Francisco for USGBC+ magazine. First of it’s kind in the city, this beautiful workplace has three green walls, light-sensitive skylights, and colorful, open, modern design.

Net Zero means in the course of one year this 24,000 square foot building should generate MORE power than it needs.

Seems like an excellent precedent.

Picking up where my graduate thesis left off long ago, DPR is one of the first shoots to be included in my new personal project documenting extraordinary efforts in sustainable design. Another featured project will be the Bullit Center in Seattle which is the WORLDS GREENEST COMMERCIAL BUILDING.

…quite amazing…see my previous post.




4-15_DPR_USGBC_Portrait062Ted van der Linden – LEED AP BD+C