Climate change is everyone’s crisis, and architects are uniquely positioned to help solve it. AIA ratified the Resolution for Urgent and Sustained Climate Action and has adopted the Framework for Design Excellence which inspires sustainable, resilient and inclusive design. To kick off and celebrate Climate Week, please join the AIANY Women in Architecture Committee and Committee on the Environment as our panel of experienced architects discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding sustainability-focused initiatives and how they can be brought to the forefront of design. Our panelists will share experiences and insights on how to navigate municipal legislations requiring minimum energy performance thresholds, and how to build circularity, resiliency and innovation into the design process. Join us to learn about how the trifecta of climate change, social equity, and biodiversity can inform better, more responsible design decisions and how each of us can play a part in effecting change.
About the Speakers:
Christina X. Brown works as an environmental performance specialist at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates in New York City, and she holds a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Science in Sustainable Design from Carnegie Mellon University. Brown grew up across diverse locations, from a polluted oil village in China to manicured landscapes of Bangalore to the unfiltered nature of North Carolina. These shifts illuminated societal, environmental, and economic nuances, fostering her appreciation for the built environment and nature’s role in shaping our society. These experiences led her to pursue sustainable architecture, aligning with her college studies in systems thinking, computational analysis, passive design, and ecology. Now, she focuses on data-driven models for localized environmental solutions, improving architectural quality through smart decision-making.
Ilana Judah is a senior architect, resilience leader, and sustainability specialist with deep experience throughout the built environment from design through construction. She has led climate and sustainability initiatives on public and private sector projects locally and globally, designed and implemented resilience and sustainability programs, served as an industry advisor to governments, spearheaded education and training in sustainability and resilience, and forged industry partnerships to advance climate imperatives. Her roles include resilience and sustainability visioning and concept development, strategic planning, client engagement, and directing integrated teams. She takes an integrative systems-based yet pragmatic approach to translating climate objectives into viable solutions. Judah was a recipient of the 2017 Women in Sustainability Leadership Award.
Yasemin Kologlu is a Principal at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and an industry-recognized leader in sustainable design. Her portfolio includes numerous near-zero-energy and net-zero-carbon buildings in a range of typologies from residential to workplace. Prominent projects include the US Census Bureau headquarters in Maryland, a UN campus in Geneva, and the Karlatornet in Gothenburg. Kologlu founded SOM’s global Climate Action Group and guides a variety of professional organizations such as Carbon Leadership Forum NY, AIANY Committee on the Environment, and Building Energy Exchange. She also works to shape municipal and state-level policies on carbon and energy.
Mallory Taub is a Sustainability Director at Gensler. Taub collaborates across disciplines to lead the development of sustainability strategies to improve the ecological and health impact of the built environment. She defines and implements sustainability frameworks at building and portfolio scales, with progressive approaches to carbon, water, materials, circularity, ecology, wellness, and resilience. In 2019, Taub was selected as a Forefront Fellow at the Urban Design Forum, where she worked with industry and civic leaders on solutions to mitigate the impact of extreme heat on vulnerable communities in collaboration with the New York Mayor’s Office of Resiliency. In 2020, she was appointed to the Steering Committee for the Building Energy Exchange to advise on preparing for New York’s ground-breaking 2025 energy code requirements. Since 2021, she has served as the Co-Chair of AIA New York’s Committee on the Environment (COTE).
Alison Mears is the Director of the Healthy Materials Lab (HML). Mears leverages her practice-based experience as an architect and her knowledge and experience as a long-term academic leader to confront one of the more serious and often overlooked environmental challenges of our time: the health of the built environment. How do we make profound and long-term change to everyday design practice to create truly healthy buildings especially for those in the most need in affordable housing? Mears’ work draws from the long tradition at The New School University’s commitment to promoting community-based sustainability, social engagement, and environmental justice especially in her teaching in architectural design studios at Parsons. She lectures widely disseminating current thinking within the field of material health.
Jonsara Ruth is co-founder and Design Director of Healthy Materials Lab (HML) at Parsons School of Design, where she is an Associate Professor and Founding Director of the MFA Interior Design program. At HML, Ruth brings creative leadership to the ambitious goal of improving the health of underserved communities through the transformation of design and material practices. At Parsons, Ruth cultivates new understandings of design through her teaching, research, and convening experts from various fields to explore intertwined, cross-disciplinary topics at public events. Ruth is a designer, artist, and founder of Salty Labs, a collaborative studio elevating everyday experience through the design of interiors and furniture while improving human and environmental health. She regularly participates as a guest lecturer at design industry and academic events on the intersection of material health and design. Currently, she serves on the board of the Sustainable Furnishings Council.
Ruth and Mears were both awarded the 2022 Women in Architecture Innovation Award from Architectural Record and they co-edited the 2023 publication “Material Health: Design Frontiers.”
Christina X Brown, Assoc. AIA, Environmental Performance Specialist, KPF
Ilana Judah, AIA, Associate Principal | Resilience, Climate & Sustainability, Arup
Yasemin Kologlu, Intl. Assoc. AIA, AIANY COTE Co-Chair, Design Principal, SOM
Mallory Taub, Assoc. AIA, AIANY COTE Co-Chair, Sustainability Director, Gensler
Alison Mears, AIA, Assoc. Professor, Director/Co-Founder, Healthy Materials Lab, Parsons School of Design
Jonsara Ruth, Assoc. Professor, Design Director/Co-Founder, Healthy Materials Lab, Parsons School of Design