The primary purpose of buildings has always been to resist and overcome nature; to protect the inhabitants from natural elements and provide comfort and shelter from the tumultuous world outside. More and more we recognize, however, that our buildings and actions impact nature just as it affects us. Nature is a truly dynamic and awesome force, but it is also a sensitive and fragile system that is not impervious to human development and industrialization. Creating buildings that incorporate an awareness of environmental responsibility is a crucial element in curtailing the resultant effects of human progress. This is the central premise behind the ‘Green’, or sustainable, building movement.
The U.S. Green Building Council offers architects LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accreditation; a means to recognize professionals trained in and capable of designing sustainable structures. MAI takes its national membership in the USGBC seriously, and has LEED AP architects and interior designers on staff. As conscientious architects, we strive to find creative ways for people to live comfortably yet passively amid the land, promoting the integration of “indoors” with “outdoors”, while advocating the use of products and systems that have minimum impact upon the environment. It is incumbent upon us that, as designers with project sites that often celebrate the splendor of their natural surroundings, we seize the opportunity to provide sensitive and sympathetic structures and amenities. We take great pride in envisioning and creating facilities that commune comfortably and contextually with their surroundings, and that encourage the inhabitants to recognize and appreciate these great and precious natural gifts.