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The Green Building Matters Podcast with Charlie Cichetti

Apr 3, 2019

Lance Hosey, FAIA, LEED Fellow, a nationally acclaimed authority on sustainability and design innovation, is a Design Director and the Global Co-Director of Design Resilience with Gensler. His latest book, 'The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design' (Island Press, 2012), the first to study the relationships between sustainability and beauty, won a 2013 New York Book Show award, was a 2014 finalist for the National Urban Design Awards Book of the Year, and has been Amazon’s #1 bestseller for sustainable design. In 2017, Environmental Buildings News listed it as one of the books “all designers must read.” A popular public speaker, Lance has spoken at TED and keynoted SXSW Eco, the Idea Festival, and many other events. Lance has chaired the USGBC’s LEED Advisory Committee and served on the National Advisory Group for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE), and as of 2016 he was one of only thirty people in the world named as Fellows with both organizations. In 2018, he won the AIA’s Sarah Booth Conroy Prize.


Growing Up and College  

Lance grew up in Texas, spending half of his childhood in El Paso. He spent the last half of his childhood in the suburbs of Houston which gave him a sense of how communities should not be developed. Lance went to High School for performing and visual arts and then went to New York and earned a B.A. in Architecture at Columbia University and went on to Yale for his Masters in Architecture.

“So I have this sort of primal memory of wandering around in a very specific landscape, one that's fairly harsh.  I liked the combination of that, of those two experiences from my childhood because I kind of got a sense of what it's like to be in a unique environment while also being in a very generic environment. - Lance Hosey


Sustainability Minded

Lance studied jazz at his high school of performing and visual arts and played the sax and piano. Playing was instrumental in his career and his thinking throughout the rest of his life because there was so much emphasis in sustainable design and on integrative and multidisciplinary collaboration.  

“This place was an early environment where I really got immersed in that kind of approach.  There's all the different art areas. We're encouraged to collaborate. And it was such an incredible environment and  so creative and very diverse, a lot of my thinking later in my career about how we stimulate creativity and innovation comes from that early experience.” - Lance Hosey



Bill McDonough was a mentor early in Lance’s career.  He then mentions Bo Burkabile was the original chair of the committee.  He never worked for him, but he got to know him through the AIA and Lance thinks that he is one of the leading lights of all of this, not just because of the interest in sustainability, but also just such a great soul, a really great example of someone who can be a motivator but also be a really terrific down to earth person.  Susan Maximin also served as a mentor, she is retired now, but she was the first female president of the American Institute of Architects, but Lance shares she was also the first to embrace sustainability as something that the AIA should be thinking about. The theme of her tenure was sustainability.


Proudest Achievements

Lance is proudest of his book that came out in 2012, The Shape of Green:  Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design. The book is dedicated to the aesthetics of sustainable design and contains a lot of the ideas that are already being talked about.  

“What does it mean for experience and joy and and the things you can actually see and touch and feel and a building.  What does sustainability mean for those things?” - Lance Hosey


Book Recommendations

The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design by Lance Hosey

The Uninhabitable Earth:  Life After Warming by David Wallace

Tune into this podcast to listen to the rest of Lance Hosey’s amazing journey in this podcast hosted by Charlie.


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