There's an interesting article in last week's BusinessWeek Apparently, Thomas Pritzker asked Frank Gehry what he would think if a client said he wanted a LEED certified building.
“Oh, great,” Gehry answered in a high, mock-excited voice, as the audience laughed. Then, back in his regular voice, he dismissed environmental concerns as largely political concerns. “A lot of LEEDs are given
He also said the expense of building to LEED standards often outweighs the benefits. On smaller projects, he said, “the costs of incorporating those kind of things don’t pay back in your lifetime.”
What does Gehry, one of the U.S.'s most respected architects, opinion say about LEED buildings? Is the 81-year-old stuck in a different period of time in his reaction towards LEED (he did, after all, apparently call it LEEDs) or is he right on?
I've discussed Gehry's general idea - on the value of LEED versus its cost - before. To address his concerns, first LEED has a number of subtopics, not all of which directly relate to energy. So it makes sense that not everything in a LEED checklist works towards that goal. Second, from what I understand, LEED can be done for the similar cost of a non-LEED building in many situations, if you start working on it right from the beginning.
What interests me about this exchange is that Gehry is saying it. Living in Seattle, I rarely, rarely, rarely hear this view espoused openly by architects. Am I just living in a green bubble? Is this still a common view?
After writing the above post, I noticed a second article Michael Arndt of BusinessWeek wrote about the above post. Turns out Gehry called Arndt to clarify his above comments. This from the second article:
“I’m not against LEEDs at all,” he said. “I think it’s wonderful. I think we’ve got to do this.” But then Gehry, who acknowledged that he is something of a cranky old man, got back on a soapbox to decry today’s automatic embrace of LEED certification. “It’s become ‘fetishized’ in my profession. It’s like if you wear the American flag on your lapel, you’re an American. That’s what I was trying to say. You get people who are holier than thou. I think architects can do a lot, but some of what gets done is marketing and doesn’t really serve to the extent that the PR says it does.”
What do you think about all this readers?