GreenWork’s Fast Pitch

I was lucky enough to attend Mayor Daley's GreenWork's Awards Fast Pitch Competition, hosted last month by Foresight Design Initiative at Chicago's Merchandise Mart, and the following reception in the Haworth Showroom, one of the event's sponsors. The competition honors Chicago’s greenest of green initiatives in three categories: Sustainable Innovation in the Built Environment, Innovation in Green Business, and Community leadership.


Finalists from the business and the built environment categories were each given three minutes to pitch their project’s sustainability quotient to the crowd  to try and win the coveted People’s Choice Award. (A panel of experts will sit down to look at each project in depth to decide the official winners).

JoyGarden The Joy Garden at Northside College preparatory High School by Urban Habitat Chicago



It wasn't hard to understand why Nick Petty was so passionate about this project. The group managed to turn this 10,000-sq.-ft. site that began as a salt pile into a thriving garden, with a budget of only $7,000! The plan incorporates biophilic design philosophies, featuring natural landforms, level changes, and vistas. Aside from the beauty of the Joy Garden's design, I was inspired by the pride the school took in the garden. Both students and faculty volunteer after school and on weekends year-round to maintain the garden, and learn about urban agriculture.

Sankofa HouseSankofa House by Harley Ellis Devereaux

The Sankofa House is an affordable housing complex designed to accommodate two often overlooked populations; kinship families, and young adults transitioning out of Chicago's foster-care system. The 58-unit apartment building holds 23 units for kinship families and 35 units for young adults. Some of the building's green attributes include two vegetative roof gardens, wind turbines, an elevator that uses 60 percent less electricity than traditional models, low-flow plumbing fixtures, a tri-sorter recycling chute, and recycling bins in each apartment. The project's client, Interfaith Housing Development Corporation, chose not to pursue LEED certification so as to put the money associated with those fees toward social services. Instead, the Sankofa House will receive a certification through Chicago's Green Homes Program. As my favorite project of the evening, I’ll be anxious to see if this receives an award.

Richard J. Klarchek Richard J. Klarcheck Information Commons by Solomon Cordwell Buenz

Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, the Richard J. Klarcheck Information Commons is being viewed as bridge linking past with future for Loyola University in Chicago. Flanked by art deco buildings on either side, the 72,000-sq.-ft. research center’s facade is made of the clearest glass available, making the existing buildings appear as bookends. The glass also makes use of the location’s spectacular views of Lake Michigan. The building has achieved LEED silver certification due to its innovative passive computer-controlled sustainable technologies.

Other finalists in the Sustainable Innovation in the Built Environment category include: 2010 Green Bungalow Block: Greener Homes for South Shore by the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association; Advanced Technology Center by S&C Electric Company; CNT Energy Savers by CNT Energy;, Lakefront Comfort Stations by Muller & Muller Ltd.; and Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo.

–Brittany Hahn

Brittany Hahn, along with La Keisha Leek and Lisa Backus, is a design student who will regularly blog to share her design experiences at for the next year. Check back often to see what's the buzz among the next generation of designers, and be sure to share with them your feedback and design advice by commenting below.


Comments are closed.