A whispering reminder

3/6/2014 12:47 PM CET

Stacy Smedley, with a degree in Architecture from the University of Washington, in Seattle, is the architect behind the extension of the Bertschi School Science Wing in Seattle, USA.

The Science Wing has been certified as the world's fourth Living Building - making it a giant step on the Journey to Deep Green and the greenest Skanska building project to date.

Stacy Smedley decided to join Skanska after getting to know the company that realized her vision.

Stacy, where does your commitment to sustainability come from?

"My awakening for the environment came when I was eight years old. I was standing on the deck of the house I grew up in, sobbing as I watch the acres of trees I only knew as my trees 'fall down' and be replaced by asphalt pavement and empty dirt lots that turned into just another suburban housing development. I can still see it clearly, smell that newly cut wood sawdust smell, and hear the chainsaws followed by the creak and the thump the trees made as they fell to their demise – the trees I would sit under to read my books. I can still feel the fiery feeling that spread through my chest as I watched – it was a feeling I'd never had before - the feeling of anger coupled with that deep ache mourning brings as I watched something I loved dearly be taken away," Stacy says.

"I turned to my mom and vowed to her, through my tears, that one day I would build buildings and not cut down trees, and that's what that little girl's voice whispers to me in those moments when I wonder what it is that I'm working so hard to change."

Do you now feel that you have made your contribution to a better world?

"The Bertschi project, for me, was only the beginning - a first step down the path of providing kids the opportunity to experience hands-on learning in restorative environments. The Bertschi School Science Wing was the prototype – taken on by an entire team of fearless first adopterswho somehow already knew the impact and example the project would create. And now, there is so much more to do! (Editor's note: Early adopters refer to the Restorative Design Collective, the group of professionals, including Skanska, that signed on to design and build the Bertschi School Science Project, pro bono.) 

"I really hope that the experiences the kids have in spaces like the Bertschi School are inspiring and impactful enough to instill within them the desire to care for their environment. That they grow up and have their eight-year-old voices whispering them reminders of hope and the need for more living, inspiring spaces."

And this is what keeps Stacy busy right now.

"I'm the sustainability consultant for Skanska Commercial Development USA on the 400 Fairview and Alley 111 projects, and assisting the Stone 34 project with the City of Seattle Deep Green Pilot Program compliance. There's also the Tahoma High School project that has high sustainability goals where we have worked with the architects and the school district to create a sustainability matrix that includes assessing life cycle cost, educational opportunities and LEED/WSSP certification compliance for each potential sustainable design strategy. And of course my non-profit, SEED.

Footnote: WSSP is Washington State Sustainability Protocol for schools – it's Washington's way of holding schools to a sustainability standard without requiring LEED certification.

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