Living Building Challenge Wins Buckminster Fuller Award at Cooper Union Award Ceremony

June 12, 2012

Cooper Union Stock Photo

On June 6th, The Buckminster Fuller Institute held a day-long event celebrating the work of the winners and finalists of the 2012 Buckminster Fuller Design Challenge. This event was held in the Rose Auditorium in collaboration with the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design. Participants and audience members heard lectures from sustainable design pioneers such as Cheryl Dahle, founder and director of Future of Fish, and Jason F. McLennan, founder and CEO of the Living Building Challenge. Renowned ecological designer John Todd delivered the keynote address and contextualized this year’s challenge in terms of both Buckminster Fuller’s overall project and the exigencies of our current time.

While all of the finalists and semifinalists were celebrated over the course of the day, it was Living Building Challenge that ultimately won the 2012 Design Challenge. The Living Building Challenge, started in 2009, has established a new standard for green building, going far beyond mainstream criteria for sustainable design in the pursuit of buildings that work intelligently with their location and maintain their performance over time (more information on the Living Building Challenge can be found here). As Challenge juror Kenny Ausabel put it, "If Bucky Fuller were with us today, he'd be smiling, because the Living Building Challenge exemplifies his mission statement for humanity: 'To make the world work for 100 percent of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense for the disadvantage of anyone.'"

In addition to the awards ceremony, this event inaugurated a continuing partnership between the Buckminster Fuller Institute and the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design. It was an inspiring and enjoyable day for all involved, and the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design looks forward to hosting many such events with the Buckminster Fuller Institute in the future.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.