Recognizing early on the threat of climate change and the architect’s role in it, BNIM emerged as a pioneer of sustainable design in the 1980s, serving a funding role in the AIA’s Committee on the Environment, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the concept of Living Buildings. This deep history has manifested itself in many forms, including: creating decision- making tools and sustainability with the Packard Foundation; piloting a LEED 2.0 project in the late 1990s for the NIST Report to help define USGS LEED Guidelines and informed the Living Building Challenge; designing the world’s first LEED Platinum Living Building certified building; bringing net-zero design to higher education campuses across the country; and expanding the concept of eco-diplomacy in the 2010s in fourteen countries alongside the U.S. Department of State. BNIM’s instrumental work in sustainable design led to recognition by the American Institute of Architects as the 2011 AIA National Architecture Firm.
The work of BNIM is guided by our core purpose – to deliver beautiful, integrated, living environments that inspire change and enhance the human condition. We do this by acknowledging the critical interdependence of nature and human nature, which John Muir observed and taught us. through our designs, we balance intuition and science to create beautiful places that also meet high-performance demands that both climate action and a more equitable word require of us. By emphasizing positive impacts of our designs on humans, we create places where people want to be, by recognizing the beneficial impacts of connecting to nature for mental and physical health and knowing the people will care for places that have meaning. Empathy with those that occupy the spaces we design reveals solutions suited to each community and each ecosystem. Systems thinking then integrates, in mutually beneficial ways, all the layers of design.