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Architect’s Regenerative Design in Philadelphia

The City of Philadelphia is stepping up its green game with a new Urban Conservation Initiative. And our growing team is here to help.

Jim and Ilka have extensive experience in historic adaptive reuse projects and are highly trained in energy-saving construction techniques. They also have a knack for turning ordinary spaces into something extraordinary.

Urban Conservation Initiative

As urban populations continue to grow, regenerative design can play a vital role in connecting people to nature. The regenerative design movement is expanding to include the work of architects, planners, landscape designers, engineers, sociologists, historians, geologists, botanists, horticulturists, zoologists and other professionals.

We strive to build new, creative partnerships that connect people to nature. We prioritize conservation initiatives that foster equitable outcomes for historically marginalized communities. We work to promote and support community-driven approaches to land management, including open space acquisitions, habitat restoration, environmental education and stewardship, and local and regional land use planning.

In Philadelphia, we work to restore the health of our city’s watersheds by promoting solutions that reduce nutrient pollution in run-off and soils, while improving urban quality of life and economic opportunity. For example, we worked with the Holmesburg Baptist Church to retrofit their parking lot with green stormwater infrastructure that absorbs and slows runoff from the street. This helps improve watershed conditions in Pennypack Creek and the Delaware River.

Sustainable Design

Regenerative design is a forward-thinking approach that goes beyond the sustainable model of creating products and structures that are minimally harmful to the environment. It seeks to restore ecological processes and create a circular economy that maximizes value over time.

To do this, architects implement strategies such as green roofs that absorb rainwater, carbon-capturing buildings, air-cleansing building skins, and wetlands that filter water to ensure a steady supply. These designs are based on a systems thinking approach that takes into account the network of interactions between entities in a human-nature ecosystem.

The discussion featured leaders from companies that focus on material reuse, including Alejandra Arce Gomez, Sustainability Director for GCI Contractors/Madrone; Garry Cooper, CEO of Rheaply; and Amanda Kaminksy, President of VMA; and delved into regenerative approaches to construction and renovation projects. The event was the first of its kind for the firm and brought together a diverse group of professionals to discuss the latest trends in sustainability, energy modeling, and zero waste strategy implementation.

Sustainable Communities

With global climate change and economic uncertainty, communities worldwide face new challenges. They need to become resilient and able to adapt. This is where sustainable communities come in.

They are designed to meet human needs while protecting biodiversity and natural resources. They also promote social and cultural well-being and provide equitable access to opportunities.

These communities strive to satisfy basic human needs of clean water and air, food security, and safe shelter. They encourage a voluntary simplicity movement that emphasizes reducing personal possessions and increasing self-sufficiency. They also promote activism within the community to create engaged, educated citizens.

They also promote energy efficiency and green building practices to reduce waste and use renewable resources. They support local businesses and encourage the use of public and historic spaces. They also host events that celebrate ethnic, cultural, and economic diversity. They also establish collections on tolerance and equity. They also offer a range of educational workshops on sustainability and environmental justice.

Ecological Design

As more and more architects are looking to make their buildings less harmful to the environment, they are starting to take on regenerative design principles. This is a more holistic approach to sustainability that focuses on the bigger picture rather than just checking boxes and reducing negative impacts.

Regenerative architecture involves creating building systems that are able to produce their own energy and other resources. This means that the buildings are not dependent on the larger utility grid, which is good for the environment.

It also means that the buildings are able to restore ecosystem services like water, air, and flora. These are all great benefits for the environment and it helps to reduce a building’s carbon footprint.

Roshni joined the Wulff team in 2019, but she has been a Philadelphia local since childhood. She brings a strong focus on the technical aspects of each project and has become an integral member of the team.

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