It has been 10 years since the first Alternative Building Materials & Design Conference. Since then, it has gotten bigger and better, growing to become the largest and most-respected green design and building expo in Southern California. Next week, AltBuild, presented by the City of Santa Monica, returns to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium for two days of exhibits—featuring innovative new products and trends, including multiple SoCal debuts—and thought-provoking programming, with speakers and panelists drawn from across industries.
For architect Scott Johnson, of Johnson Fain, and the moderator of the AIA|LA COTE Special Presentation —“The Nature of Los Angeles is Dense Urban Sprawl,” on the 1:25 PM Friday, “The AltBuild event is a yearly convocation of broad thinkers on the topic of the natural environment and built form. The paradox is that the term, AltBuild, suggests some slightly remote and alternative culture when, in fact, with issues as important as climate change and, in Los Angeles, issues like transportation and air quality, this is actually mainstream culture and current progressive thinking.”
Besides Johnson’s panel, Friday, May 10, will include more professional programming presented by Santa Monica, AIA Los Angeles, USGBC-LA and BIA-LA/Ventura County. “One great way for architects and firms to stay relevant and motivated is to get involved in activities outside of the office such as teaching, lecturing and other community/ education-related events, participating as guest critic at various schools and institutions, and attending conferences like AltBuild where the best current projects and methodologies are showcased,” says James Mary O’Connor, principal at Moore Ruble Yudell Architect & Planners and a part of the event’s 12:15 “Think Local, Design Global” panel. “The AEC business is always changing and has become much more collaborative, so it is helpful and motivating to know the latest trends and work that is being done by other firms and disciplines in the industry.”
Several of the panels will focus on sustainable design as it relates to Los Angeles. As Shawn Gehle, design director/senior associate at Gensler and a participant on the Win:Win Journal: “The Future of Sustainable L.A.” panel, puts it, "As the first, American post war city, Los Angeles has finally realized the limits of LA1.0. Angelenos are living in an exciting time as our 2.0 city quickly transforms itself from a city built around the automobile and limitless sprawl to a series of dense villages connected with mass transit, committed to sustainable growth and authentic to their location within the Los Angeles basin."
Keynote speaker Danielle Pieranunzi, LEED AP BD+C, and the director of Sustainable Sites Initiative will kick-off the event with a keynote and will also touch on Los Angeles. “With the world becoming increasingly urbanized, Los Angeles and other cities are becoming ever more essential as places to embrace design and development practices that provide quality outdoor spaces that are healthier places to live, work and visit. I hope that AltBuild participants who learn about the Sustainable Sites Initiative will come away from the expo with a better understanding of how they can play a part in approaching landscape design, construction and maintenance in ways that restore degraded sites and offset the negative impacts of development.”
Be sure to clear your calendars for Friday. There’s a lot to see and hear in Santa Monica.