Architect, green building expert returns to his roots in Sudbury: Jason McLennan spoke to students about how to create a regenerative master plan for Sudbury at the McEwen School of Architecture.

AuthorRomaniuk, Colleen

A world-renowned architect and expert on sustainable buildings, Jason McLennan, returned to his roots in Sudbury to share his knowledge with students at the McEwen School of Architecture.

From Nov. 5 to 6, McLennan was a guest in Laurentian University's Architecture Series, led two workshops, and participated in a roundtable discussion with students.

McLennan, who was born in Sudbury and now lives outside of Seattle, is the CEO of McLennan Design and the founder and chair of the International Living Future Institute as well as the Cascadia Green Building Council, a chapter of both the United States Green Building Council and the Canada Green Building Council.

He has played a foundational role in the green building movement around the globe by creating the Living Building Challenge (LBC).

The LBC is an international sustainable building certification program, design philosophy, and advocacy tool developed in 2006.

By promoting the most advanced measures of sustainability in the built environment, the LBC has changed the way we think about architecture.

Growing up, McLennan said, he was always a troublemaker with an interest in pushing where he was told he could not go. Sudbury's regreening efforts in the 1980s had a profound effect on him, and sparked an early interest in regenerative, restorative architecture.

After studying at the University of Oregon, and later at the Glasgow School of Architecture, McLennan said he was fortunate enough to find mentors in some early proponents of the green building movement.

But he soon realized that what they were doing wasn't enough.

"We were basically showing one thing at a time that it was possible to build in a truly regenerative way, but nobody was bringing it all together in a holistic way on an individual project," he said.

So he started to explore what truly regenerative architecture might look like.

"What really started to get to me is, as I started to understand the science of climate change and really started to understand the impacts that our civilization was having on the entire world, I realized that there was a complete and utter misalignment between the efforts of our industry of design and what was actually happening in reality."

In other words, he felt as though we were trying to rearrange the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic.

In 2005, he started working on "a little troublemaking manifesto" called the Living Building Challenge.

The purpose of the LBC is to build with the intention to...

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