Mar 7th, 2017

Utah Architects Project Expanded and Enhanced!

New! UCFA’s Utah Architects Project, an online archive of the lives and work of Utah architects beginning in 1847, now includes a growing number architects from the mid- to late-20th century. You’ll not only discover new architect profiles, but for the first time you’ll find photos of the architects, design descriptions, maps showing building locations, and biographical narratives.
The new postings include designers who created many of the now iconic mid-century buildings of Utah, including Neil Astle, William Browning, James Christopher, George Daniels, Ralph Edwards, and E. Joe Ruben. You will find that with these profiles, we step into firm practice, that is, the same buildings may be attributed to more than one person within a firm, as with Ralph Edwards and George Daniels. Design collaboration makes determining authorship impossible and unnecessary. Others profiled shaped the development of important Utah institutions such as Neal Stowe, who directed the Division of Facilities Construction and Management, and David Hayes who designed and oversaw the architectural development of many structures at Salt Lake City International Airport. To see one of these new profiles, go to and enter the name of the architect.
You will find only two women architects in the profiles–Julia Morgan (1872-1957) and Anna Campbell Bliss (1925-2015). Julia Morgan was a celebrated California architect who designed the original YWCA building in Salt Lake City in 1919, and Anna Campbell Bliss was a renowned fine artist in Utah whose career began as an architect in Minnesota. Women architects have risen to outstanding influence and prominence in the late 20th century and will be included as the researcher moves forward in time. We are focusing first on architects who were influential earlier in the 1950-present continuum and who are also either retired or deceased. 
Why is this collection important? Architecture houses our lives, it surrounds us on our city streets, and it affects us profoundly whether we think about it or not. The best of architectural work truly is art, and we acknowledge its cultural importance when we take visitors to our favorite places. The Utah Architects Project gives us insight into the evolution of architectural design in our state and a window into the cultural trends of the times. We hope it stimulates conversations about the art of architecture and the influence of design then and now.
The Utah Architects Project is the result of a close collaboration between the Utah Center for Architecture and the University of Utah, specifically the American West Center and Special Collections of the J.W. Marriott Library. Graduate student researcher Chelsey Zamir is compiling the post-1949 materials with the guidance of American West Center director and historian, Dr. Gregory Smoak. Ms. Zamir cites all sources, allowing others to verify and research further. The UAP is copyrighted by UCFA and permanently archived with the University of Utah as a significant historical record.
None of this could happen without the financial support of many individuals and firms. Please donate to the Utah Center for Architecture so that the important documentation of the Utah Architects Project may continue.

Feb 2nd, 2016

UCFA’s Who’s Who

The Utah Center for Architecture is not staffed. That means our board members are the heroes of the organization–doing the hands-on work of planning and carrying out programs as well as the traditional board roles of fiduciary oversight, policy setting, and meeting non-profit laws and standards. We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished in eight years–launching Architecture Week in Utah, creating the Utah Architects Project, expanding Educating Elementary Children Through Architecture, and joining with other civic, academic, and community groups to engage the public in design and planning. After all, those decisions affect our lives every day.

Our 2020 Board Members are: Eric Jacoby, President; Hokulani Ching, Vice President; Julee Attig, Secretary; Robert Pinon, Treasurer; and Directors Darby Doyle, Naima Nawabi, Vellachi Ganesan, Clio Rayner and Heather Wilson (Ex Officio).

By the way, this means that 100% of any contribution to UCFA goes to programs.

Apr 10th, 2015

Architecture for Kids Program Expands to Draper

This year, teacher Ashley Fricker at Draper Elementary began an after-school “Architecture Club” to involve kids in UCFA’s award-winning Educating Elementary Children Through Architecture (EECTA) program. Ms. Fricker had incorporated EECTA in her classroom curriculum at a prior school and believed it valuable enough to devote after-school time for the children interested in participating. She had over 20 students join in.

EECTA gives students a hands-on opportunity to use their creativity to apply design, math, science, and communication skills to create their dream city. Architects from local firms and architecture students from the University of Utah volunteer their time to teach the children, with teachers providing classroom support, for an hour a week over eight weeks.

On April 20, 10 classrooms of 4th and 5th graders, including Ms. Fricker’s Architecture Club students, will join their squares of a city grid to create a giant “Box City” in the Urban Room of the Salt Lake City Main Public Library. Parents, teachers, students, architecture mentors, and community members are invited to the Box City “dedication” at 7:00 p.m. in the Library’s auditorium.

Box City will be on display during Architecture Week, from Monday evening April 20 – Friday, April 24. Don’t miss the colorful future these kids imagine!

If you’re interested in bringing EECTA to your school, contact Evan Haslam at Think Architecture, 801-269-0055. We are especially interested in reaching Title 1 schools. Donations for materials to help this all-volunteer effort succeed are also welcome. Donate

2015 EECTA Sponsors – We Thank You!
Babcock Design Group
Blackbox Design Studios
EDA Architects
MHTN Architects
RAW Design
Think Architecture
VCBO Architecture
Students from the University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning
Salt Lake City Main Public Library

Schools: Beacon Heights Elementary, Canyonview Elementary, Draper Elementary, Oakdale Elementary, Uintah Elementary, and Upland Terrace Elementary


Apr 29th, 2014

Elementary Kids Build Dream City

This spring, 200 school kids learned that building a dream city is easier when it’s made out of cardboard than from steel and concrete, but the principles of design still apply.

“Box City” — a miniature community of cardboard, construction paper and pipe cleaner “people” went on display at the Salt Lake City Main Public Library from Monday evening April 28. On Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., students, their families, teachers and architect volunteers will gather to view their miniature city and recognize the students’ accomplishment. The public is invited.

“Box City” was created through a program called Educating Elementary Children Through Architecture (EECTA), developed by AIA Utah and now directed by the Utah Center for Architecture, a new non-profit group. Architects and architectural graduate students worked with the 4th, 5th and 6th-graders and their teachers to explore the basics of design, the physics of structure and the essentials of city planning. The program’s seven architectural lessons coincide with classroom curriculum and reinforce the students’ knowledge of math, science, social studies, and communication skills.

“Creativity is perhaps the best part of this program,” says Evan Haslam, an architect who organized EECTA this year. “By the end of the seven-week period, a classroom of students and architects have not only created a minature city, they have developed an understanding that architecture can be beautiful no matter its size, shape, or color, and that the built environment is worth the thought and effort to make it truly ours.”

The schools that participated include Canyon View Elementary and Oakdale Elementary in the Canyons District, and Highland Park Elementary in Salt Lake City.


Oct 11th, 2013

Utah Architects Project Launched

Architecture may be a very public art, but the architects behind even our most important buildings usually remain a mystery.

On October 17, the Utah Center for Architecture launched Phase 1 of the Utah Architects Project. This searchable database links architects with their significant buildings throughout the state, capturing 102 years of creative work, from 1847 to 1949. The next phase will expand this resource into the 21st century.

To celebrate this roll-out, UCFA hosted a party the evening of the 17th at the Utah Heritage Foundation’s Ladies Literary Club in Salt Lake City in conjunction with Salt Lake Design Week.

A new cultural resource for all Utah’s citizens

Anyone with a computer may search by architect name, city, building type, building name or time period. The database includes photos of the buildings and the architects, when available. While most of the buildings included are public, secular structures, the collection includes significant Mormon church buildings, religious structures of other faiths, and a few of the most important private homes. Important buildings designed by non-resident architects are included as well.

The collection won’t end with 1949. The roll-out on the 17th launched the next phase to bring the database into the 21st century. UCFA envisions this collection will reflect the evolution of design in Utah from individual practitioners to multi-disciplinary teams, incorporate information about design trends, and allow for greater public participation.

“We want to add digital interviews, videos of places, links to online mapping resources, and opportunities for people to contribute to and comment on the material,” says Elizabeth Mitchell, UCFA president. “To get there, we’ll need support from those who believe in this idea.”

UCFA is seeking contributions to fund a Fellowship with the American West Center at the University for a graduate student to build the next 50 years of data and augment what is already in place with more photos and architectural descriptions. This graduate fellow’s expertise coupled with the oversight of academic historians and architects will assure that the Utah Architects Project remains a credible, vital resource.

How it began

Although a project of the Utah Center for Architecture, it was architect Burtch W. Beall, Jr., FAIA, a much-honored member of the profession, who carried out the research over five years and donated it to UCFA. Beall’s gift of the Utah Architects Project to the Utah Foundation for Architecture in 2008 was the catalyst to re-think and then to re-brand the Foundation (the charitable/educational non-profit of AIA Utah that had become inactive) into the Utah Center for Architecture. New board members saw the potential for an online, searchable database that could be continuously augmented and improved.

“The concept deepened from collecting the work of architects to showing the cultural value and impact of design,” said Bob Herman, AIA, UCFA president at the time.

Many people have contributed countless hours to translate what was to become a book into a digital resource. No one has put more work into this than Burtch Beall himself.  Architect Warren Lloyd, AIA, Rebecca Romney of Lloyd Architects, and Elizabeth Mitchell have devoted significant time to fixing glitches. Architectural historian Peter Goss submitted comments that have been incorporated. Randy Dixon from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reviewed LDS Church religious structures. Super Top Secret, an advertising and web development company, while compensated for much of its work also contributed significant staff time and expertise to creating the UAP web design and platform.

Check out the Utah Architects Project and imagine what it can become. Help us realize this dream to introduce the people behind Utah’s buildings to all of Utah’s citizens by donating to the Utah Architects Project.


Aug 5th, 2013

It takes a light touch

Just as explaining a joke kills it, you’d think cities getting into “tactical urbanism” would snuff the radical energy of people remaking a destitute place on their own.

But reality is: who’s going to bring the dollars to fix up a trashy weed site if not the city?

So Salt Lake City is trying a little urban makeover, dubbing it “lighter quicker cheaper”. Two sites opened two days in a row, Sugarmont Plaza in Sugar House on June 14 and Granary Row on 900 South between 300 and 400 West on June 15, 2013

To suggest, however, that Salt Lake City is the initiator for either would be incorrect. Rather, designers, students, developers, academics and other citizens who have dreamed up catalyst projects, that is to say easy “interventions” that can demonstrate the potential of an area have earned some RDA funds to make them happen.

Take Sugarmont Plaza. Prior to its recent make-over, it was a cracked, patchwork asphalt parking lot by a  vacant thrift store building in Sugar House. Not trashy or weedy per se but a dead zone without immediate prospects for improvement. Current owner: Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency.

Aware of the City’s interest in tactical urbanism, Mark Morris of VODA Landscape + Planning and Amy Barry of the Sugar House Community Council submitted a proposal to turn the abandoned parking lot into “Sugarmont Plaza.” They brought in many “project affiliate organizations” who provided active and sidelines support, including the Utah Center for Architecture. Morris is a landscape architect, current president of the Sugar House Park Authority Board and creative director for Friends of the Sugar House Streetcar.

“We had two goals,” says Mark. “We wanted to make it a useful place, an active place for the community and also test public support for a plaza in this location.” The site is located at a critical juncture where the street car will eventually interface with Highland Drive.

Their proposal was simple. Create a casual public gathering space by painting bright, geometric patterns on the pavement and filling it with inexpensive tables and chairs, similar to other tactical urbanism projects across the country. Add to the sense of place by commissioning an artist to design and paint a mural on the empty building identifying the plaza. Attract people with a bi-weekly evening food truck rally and other attractions, including live music.








Morris and Barry also proposed adding informal signs throughout the Sugar House business district letting people know estimated walking times to nearby destinations. More people willing to walk now, they figured, would enhance street car success later on.

With the RDA’s investment of $10,000.00 for hard costs and the mural creation, Sugarmont Plaza opened on a sunny Friday, June 14.


Molly Robinson, AICP, Urban Designer for Salt Lake City, observes “I think tactical urbanism projects are a creative way for people to engage with the public realm. From the City’s perspective, of course, we want people to ask permission first, get a permit and so on. The reality is that for many of these projects, there is no process or procedure to help the public do this in a reasonable manner. This is something we’re working to address.”

Tactical urbanism won’t fill every derelict corner of the city. Like the Sugarmont and Granary projects, the City will likely invest in places that can be catalysts for accomplishing multiple goals, e.g., improved public safety, economic development, building community spirit, and advancing neighborhood planning goals. That may be a lot for “lighter, quicker, cheaper” tactical urbanism projects to carry.

We’ll see what comes next.

E. Mitchell


Jul 21st, 2013

Designers Offer Ideas for Streetcar Greenway

Sharen Hauri, South Salt Lake City’s urban design director, does what she can to promote development of the four block South Salt Lake City portion of the Sugar House / SSL streetcar corridor. The City has a much smaller budget than Salt Lake City on the east end of the line, so it is building new improvements step by step, as funds are raised. Hauri has been getting the stage set primarily by leveraging partners’ resources and prioritizing where city funds go. One of the best partnerships is with the Friends of the South Salt Lake / Sugar House Streetcar and the Utah Center for Architecture. UCFA provided a modest grant to help underwrite the public workshop last October to generate ideas to make the corridor both an exciting public space and the basis for economic development.
Hauri, the City’s project manager for the greenway, is now building on the vision from that workshop. “I have a summer intern doing modeling of designs for the redevelopment of those four blocks so we can develop guidelines and a form-based code,” she says. Hauri adds that the visioning process highlighted the importance of the 500 East corner and its potential for handling taller and denser development than first imagined. In the short term it will be filled with a community garden for a nearby housing complex that houses refugee families. 
The next step will be to create a Community Development Area (CDA) for the four-block area from State Street to 500 East to pay for greenway and some public infrastructure and walkability improvements. Hauri would love to get funding for public art as well. In mid-August, the two cities and UTA will release its brand for the streetcar corridor and surrounding neighborhood. “We knew that we were creating something truly unique that we could build a whole new identity from,” said Hauri. “Our model was the Highline in New York, so we were thrilled to have UCA sponsor a charette with Clare Weisz, one of the original visionaries on that project.”
One piece of the public greenway will be completed this year: Salt Lake County has funded the $1.25 million dollar development of Parley’s Trail for paving, landscaping and lighting through the South Salt Lake corridor. 
It’s a start. 

Jan 20th, 2013

Public Attends Design Week Tours by UCFA

When Mark Morris, landscape architect and UCFA board member, organized lunch time tours of downtown Salt Lake for Design Week, he wondered who would show up.

Design Week, held the last week of October, brings together different types of designers but its goal is to highlight the importance of design to the public. The brown bag walking tours were a first for Design Week and each highlighted a different aspect of Salt Lake City’s downtown: City Creek, iconic plazas and landscapes, architecture preservation, public art; and the walkable downtown. Bad weather forced the cancellation of two tours but the rest drew from 15-20, and many more for Walkable Salt Lake. As expected, designers and students attended, but also members of the public who were simply curious about Salt Lake’s built environment.

Mark allowed those who volunteered to lead tours to shape them based on their own expertise and interests, and each reflected those passions.

Stephen Goldsmith’s tour, “City Creek and the Evolution of the City” was as much about lost opportunities as successes, and raised questions about public life in the private square.

Mark Morris’ tour underscored the unique contributions of landscape architects to the quality of our urban life: from urban planning and design, to plaza and park design, to green roofs.

Molly Robinson, urban designer for Salt Lake City, excited people about the potential of  Salt Lake’s mid-block “laneways” and alleys to enrich downtown life and walkability. About 80 people, including many students, attended this tour (if you want to add to that conversation:

The Utah Center for Architecture hopes to create consistent downtown tour opportunities for the public during warmer weather months.

Oct 26th, 2012

Who Designed That Building?

Architecture may be a very public art, but the architects behind even our most important buildings usually remain a mystery.

The Utah Center for Architecture will change that with the launch of the Utah Architects Project, a searchable database that links architects with their significant buildings throughout the state. It captures 102 years of creative work, from 1847 to 1949, when the University of Utah established a professional degree program in architecture.

Anyone with a computer will be able to search by architect name, city, building type, building name or time period. You may know that Richard A. Kletting designed the Utah State Capitol Building. Through the Utah Architects Project you’ll also learn that he was born in Germany in 1858, whom he worked with, and the other buildings he designed such as the 1909 Saltair Pavilion and the LDS Business College on South Temple. The database includes photos of the architects and the buildings, if available.

All the buildings catalogued are in Utah, but the architects may or may not have been residents of the state. For example, if you look up the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (former Hotel Utah), you’ll learn that it was designed by the Los Angeles firm of Parkinson & Bergstrom, which also designed the Kearns Building on Main Street in Salt Lake City.

While most of the buildings included are public, secular structures, the collection includes significant Mormon church buildings, religious structures of other faiths, and a few of the most important private homes.

Architect Burtch W. Beall, Jr., FAIA gathered the material for this database over two decades. He donated it to AIA Utah’s public education foundation in 2008, which he then helped to restructure as the Utah Center for Architecture.

To bring this invaluable archive into the 21st century, UCFA board members Dr. Martha Bradley and architect Stephen Smith, FAIA, are organizing the research process to document architects of the recent past. They are grappling with changes in professional practice that make architectural design more of a team accomplishment. As soon as funding allows, the archive will be expanded to include oral interviews and videos to bring designers and the design process to life.

With the release of this resource, Utah’s architects will finally be recognized for their contributions to Utah’s cultural heritage and quality of life.

May 15th, 2012



June 1, 2012

A quiet revolution in architectural design has occurred in Utah over the past 10 years, as architects have pushed building design from achieving “energy efficiency” to “net zero carbon”. Many architects recognize that buildings consume nearly half of all energy produced in the U.S. and feel a responsibility to lower that impact to reduce carbon emissions, save money and preserve resources for the future.

A new exhibit shows how one architectural firm tackled this challenge over the past 10 years. (See exhibit below.)

Architect David Brems, FAIA, design director for GSBS Architects, has championed environmentally-responsible design throughout his career. An exhibit featuring the firm’s work from the Olympic Winter Games Speed Skating Oval—one of the first LEED-certified buildings in the world, to Salt Lake City’s new Public Safety Building, designed to achieve net zero carbon, is on display at the Alta Club. Called “Zero in 10”, the exhibit also features key images from the “Physical Fitness of Cities” exhibition created as part of the Cultural Olympiad in Salt Lake City ten years ago.

“The exhibit illustrates our commitment to sustainability in architecture and shows the way these buildings make our communities more humane, livable and enjoyable,” said Brems.

Stephen Goldsmith, Associate Professor in the Department of City and Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah, partnered with Brems to create the exhibit. He was Planning Director for Salt Lake City at the time of the Olympic Winter Games and created the “FitCities” exhibit as it was dubbed.

“This new exhibit shows the incredible advances of the past ten years and what we can expect in another decade,” he said.

The public can view the exhibit by calling the Alta Club at least 24 hours in advance to make arrangements, 801-322-1081.

UCFA is a sponsor for the exhibit along with the Alta Club and the University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning.

Utah Olympic Oval



Cities in Utah and around the world are becoming more “fit”. They provide more ways for people to get to where they want to go. They invite people to walk or bike with safer and more pleasant routes. They foster neighborhood development as ecosystems of businesses and services tailored to community needs. They develop buildings that let in natural light and fresh air, and use far less energy–in fact, may return energy to the grid. They find abundant ways to clean and use water where it falls. They set aside places for people to plant gardens and create public art.

This exhibit displays some examples from around the world—some extraordinary in form, some quite simple but no less significant in the way they make cities more humane, life-supporting and enjoyable.

In Utah, the opportunity to host the 2002 Olympic Winter Games transformed “green architecture”—a significant component of a fit city–from a niche interest to the mainstream standard for public buildings. Utah, long a backwater of architectural innovation, became a world leader, promoting advanced design thinking. As one of the first LEED-certified* buildings in the world, the Utah Olympic Speed Skating Oval defined sustainable design at that time. During this decade, Salt Lake City’s Public Safety Building may well set the next high bar if it achieves “net zero” energy use as designed. Each of these ground-breaking buildings was designed by GSBS Architects and reflects the passion for environmental responsibility by the firm’s design director, David Brems, FAIA, LEED.

Brems’ major projects offer a lens through which this quiet revolution in sustainable design can be seen in Utah.  These buildings exemplify design excellence while pushing the boundaries of sustainable design. Along with GSBS Architects, a growing number of architectural firms, in partnership with innovative engineers and landscape architects, are designing the next generation of “green buildings” and contributing to the development of FitCities in Utah.


In 1998, the Salt Lake Olympic Committee formed a Sustainable Facilities Committee for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. Architect David Brems, FAIA, chaired the committee and assembled a distinguished group of design professionals to create the first ever sustainability guidelines for Game venues. The 2002 Winter Games would become the first Olympics to measure environmental responsibility with wide-ranging design metrics.  The International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee embraced this direction.  With sustainability a high-profile Olympics standard, public and private owners began to support green design metrics in other new facilities. Out of a chaos of various standards, the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED building rating system emerged during the decade as the accepted way to measure sustainable design in Utah.

LEED certified buildings have measurable energy and water efficiencies, healthy indoor air quality, may be built from recycled and local materials, enjoy more natural light indoors, often link with public transit and trails, and promote the health and well-being of their occupants. It is now the preeminent measure of sustainable design with nearly nine billion square feet of building space participating in the various rating systems and 1.6 million feet certifying per day around the world. As a LEED pilot project, the Olympic Oval contributed to the establishment of LEED requirements for measuring building performance and provided an example and new benchmark for performance in Utah.

Today, the new benchmark is achieving net zero architecture——ultra-low energy use buildings that also produce energy to meet operational needs, thus reducing their carbon footprint to zero. The Salt Lake City Public Safety Building featured in this exhibit will be the first of its type in the world to achieve net zero.

*LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Created by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED rating systems provide “a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, and maintenance solutions.”


Utah Olympic Oval

Utah Olympic Oval Interior


The overriding goal for the Utah Olympic Oval was to create “the fastest ice on earth” within a very tight budget.

In addition, the Salt Lake Olympic Committee authorized the Utah Olympic Oval to attempt LEED Certification, submitting the design to a rigorous system of sustainability metrics created by the United States Green Building Council.  The Oval became one of 13 pilot buildings in the world to become LEED Certified. Pioneering an integrated design process, the stakeholders worked together as a team to relentlessly drive the design to meet the goals.

As it turned out, the process of making the building environmentally responsible was critical to achieving what has been dubbed, “the world’s fastest ice.” Similar to a racing sailboat, the oval enclosure and ice slab can be fine-tuned for every skating distance, humidity, ice temperature, and air temperature for optimal performance. An incredible ten Olympic records and eight world records have been achieved under that roof. Is a building beautiful if it can’t achieve its function?

Since the LEED pilot projects including the Olympic Oval, the LEED rating system has become the preeminent measure of sustainable design with nearly nine billion square feet of building space participating in the various rating systems and 1.6 million feet certifying per day around the world.


Emigration Canyon House

Emigration Canyon House


Perched on a difficult site that offers dramatic views, this family home provides year-round comfort at very little cost in dollars and environmental impact thanks to high performance design. The house incorporates passive solar heating, passive ventilation, heat exchange, day lighting, radiant heat/cool floor, xeriscape, low water use fixtures and high indoor air quality. The house will support solar thermal and photovoltaic arrays. Net Zero is currently achieved off site with renewable energy credits. The design wraps around a large, informal kitchen and every room captures a canyon view, connecting family members with the outdoors.  The home is low maintenance, fire and earthquake resistant, and designed to last many decades.


Hillside Middle School

Hillside Middle School


Students in classrooms with abundant natural light and views learn more–much more. The variability of natural light, time of day, weather change, seasonal sun angles signals our brains to be alert and pay attention: change is occurring.  Staring out the window is a good thing.  Relax the eye with a long distance view, see the beauty of our place, catch a bird in flight, see real life occur, all give small pauses, allowing ideas to assemble and creativity to occur.  All the things that make a building green also make it a great place to learn.  Green schools set examples that make students proud–examples they will follow throughout their lives including respecting our environment, recycling, conserving energy, and being more considerate.


Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies, Oberlin College


Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies


Described by The New York Times as ‘the most remarkable of a new generation of college buildings’ and by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of the 30 ‘milestone’ buildings of the 20th century, William McDonough + Partners’ design for The Lewis Center aspires to be as bountiful and effective as a tree.  The building operates on three fundamental principles of nature—eliminate the concept of waste, rely on natural energy flows, and honor diversity.  Day lighting and natural ventilation enhance the atrium’s feeling of an outdoor room, as well as its role and the building’s physical and social center.  In 2006, the site became a net energy exporter, producing 30 percent more energy than it needs to operate and sharing this excess energy with the community.


AIA Utah Office

AIA Utah Office


This small office in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City serves as the headquarters for the American Institute of Architects, Utah Chapter. The office is designed to achieve LEED Platinum and incorporates natural daylight as the primary source of light. Heating, cooling and LED lighting are controlled through sensors for maximum energy efficiency and comfort. The built-in reception desk is comprised of recycled trestle wood from a former Great Salt Lake railroad track.


Jordan Valley Water Conservation District Education Center

Jordan Valley Water Conservation Education Center


The JVWCD Education Center is Salt Lake Valley’s place for water conservation education.  The LEED Platinum Building is a stunning example of sustainable design excellence with unique details like a rammed earth tromb wall that absorbs heat in the working greenhouse, which is then redistributed to the classroom spaces.  This high performance building serves as the public entry to the District’s Conservation Gardens that demonstrate the beauty and variety of low-water, drought-tolerant native landscapes. The Education Center incorporates passive solar heating, solar PV and solar thermal arrays, geothermal heating and cooling systems, and radiant slabs.


Goodson Residence

Goodson Residence


This contemporary, red sandstone home fits agreeably into its established Millcreek neighborhood. Designed for a large Utah family, the Goodson residence achieves Net Zero through low energy use strategies, incorporating passive solar design, natural ventilation, a geothermal heating and cooling system, a high performance envelope, non-toxic indoor materials and low water use.




Streetcar, Portland, Oregon

Streetcar – Portland, OR


Before the National City Lines conspiracy led to the destruction of streetcar systems in 45 U.S. cities, transit mobility in our cities contributed to cleaner air, healthier citizens and economic equity for working class Americans who couldn’t afford or didn’t want a car.  In Salt Lake City, 147 miles of track supported one of the greenest transit systems in the country, since the hydroelectric plant named The Stairs Plant in Big Cottonwood Canyon generated much of its electricity.  Today we’re seeing a resurgence of streetcar lines throughout the country, with 40 cities looking to streetcars as an economic development strategy.  Among these cities is Salt Lake City, whose partnership with South Salt Lake and the Utah Transit Authority will have a new line, the Sugar House Streetcar, operational in 2014.


Center for Advanced Energy Studies

Center for Advanced Energy Studies


Idaho National Laboratory established the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in 2005. CAES is a partnership of the U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho State University, University of Idaho and Boise State University.  The Center is high level LEED Gold (one point below Platinum), incorporating day lighting systems for public atrium spaces and all open offices.  The site utilizes bio swales to collect surface runoff, diverting it to plantings to filter out hazardous salts and oils.  Perched above the Snake River, the site allows for relaxing and mind-regenerating walks.   The laboratories enjoy long views of farms and the Teton Mountains.


Natural History Museum of Utah

Natural History Museum of Utah


The new Natural History Museum of Utah is a trailhead to Utah. The NHMU, whose mission is to illuminate the natural world and humans’ place within it, houses a collection of 1.2 million precious and fragile objects. The NHMU includes Permanent and Temporary exhibits, Administration, Research, Collection Storage, public and student visitors, summer camps, workshops, café, retail store and is a venue for many events.  The building will be LEED Gold Certified with a photovoltaic array.



Boulder Shack

Boulder Shack


A retreat in Boulder, Utah designed to provide compact luxury and comfort for a small family, allows privacy without sacrificing a sense of openness in an economical 692 square feet.  Plentiful outdoor rooms celebrate the beauty of the place while providing sufficient shelter for extended family and friends. It sits lightly on the land with its adaptable post and beam construction and recycled building materials. The family lowers its already small electric bill by using LED lights and Energy Star appliances. The passive solar design, augmented by a geothermal system, handles the heating and cooling. The retreat achieves Net Zero with 2 kW of photovoltaic power (PV) on site and by purchasing local hydro power.  The design is a tribute to the early Utah ranch houses and out buildings.


University of Utah College of Architecture and Planning

College of Architecture + Planning, University of Utah

Constructed in 1970, the Edwards and Daniels Architects’ design of the CA+P was highly acclaimed, Modernist Architecture.  The midcentury building is a raw statement of purpose, an exposed example to teach architectural students about essential form and function. Many buildings designed during this era when energy was cheap are now being lost because of high operating costs, mechanical and electrical inefficiencies and poor comfort.  The CA+P building has become one of the least efficient buildings on the U of U Campus.

A group of Salt Lake Architecture firms, mostly CA+P graduates, students and faculty, led by Dean Brenda Sheer, AIA, FAICP are studying the building, planning to save it and take it all the way to Net Zero, continuing its role as a teacher to architecture and planning students. GSBS Architects, working with the National Renewable Energy Lab, has created an energy model to guide the testing and implementation of energy conservation measures to make the CA+P the most energy efficient building on the U of U Campus.


Salt Lake City Public Safety Building

Public Safety Building (rendering)


Salt Lake City has become one of the greenest cities in the United States thanks to the early efforts of past Mayor Rocky Anderson and Planning Director Stephen Goldsmith.  Mayor Ralph Becker announced in his first term bold plans of achieving Net Zero for all city facilities, beginning with the Public Safety Building.

Public Safety Building Interior (rendering)

Mayor Becker’s vision is to add renewable energy where possible and provide a large array at the city landfill where methane harvesting is ongoing and a substation can distribute the energy.

The Salt Lake City Public Safety Building will be home to Police and Fire Administration, Salt Lake City’s data center, 911 Call Dispatch, Emergency Operations Center, Public Safety Museum, Fire Prevention Bureau and Multi-purpose public meeting rooms. The urban design of the PSB site connects through Library Square to the historic City and County Building and anticipates future mixed-use developments to the east along the mid block axis.

This unique building is designed to survive a 7.5 Richter earthquake and be immediately occupied as a self-sufficient command center. The Net Zero building is powered by solar thermal (hot water) and solar electric (PV) arrays to achieve Net Zero Carbon. The renewable energy sources will be valuable in a dire emergency when they will provide electric power and hot water to the occupants of the building working around the clock under great stress, deploying resources to solve the problems of a disaster.


Fulda Bridge, Kassel, Germany

Fulda Bridge, Kassel, Germany


This pedestrian bridge links two very different parts of the historic district of Kassel.  The western bank of the Fulda River is the heart of the city and features a castle and medieval buildings. The neglected eastern bank was underdeveloped and used primarily for festivals and parking. This bridge contributed to the revitalization of the western riverbank as a livable, positive space. Its simplicity and elegance, its bold modesty allows it to blend into the landscape as though it grows from it, rather than placed over its surroundings.  Designed by the young architect Brigitte Kochta, her bridge was selected during an international design competition conducted in Kassel. This example of how solutions grow from place was included in the FitCities exhibition during the 2002 Winter Olympics.


The exhibit, now showing at the Alta Club in Salt Lake City, will close September 3.