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Thom Mayne Calls Bullshit on LEED

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In an interview in this month's Architectural Record, Federal Building architect Thom Mayne discusses his research-intensive process, the integration of sustainability and good design, and barely covers his disdain for the "tacking-on" of green features that is so often demanded by the LEED system.

Despite the fact that the Federal Building has earned awards for its efficient design, rumor has it that it may NOT earn even base LEED accreditation. Despite it's passive environmental systems, and a thoughtful design that enables the building to use 1/2 the energy of a comparable standard office tower, the lack of "tacked on" green features prevents the building from earning the proper number of points. In his critique of the LEED system, Mayne has a few choice words.

LEED should give performance requirements and let the architect solve the problem. The point system doesn't scale. A bike rack and air conditioning get you the same point. I'd much rather see BTU and CO2 requirements and let the professional community solve the problem. If you give proscriptive requirements, it stagnates new development and research. It's like taking a blue book test. You don't need to know the subject. Because architects deal in creative problem solving, some of that will be curtailed by proscriptive systems. I also think the LEED point system is overladen in the construction phase versus lifetime energy consumption and secondary effects.· Thom Mayne on What's Wrong with LEED [Architectural Record] [photo via flickr user fionap]

Federal Office Building (50 UNP)

90 7th St, San Francisco, CA 94102