Hannah Shabb

When I think sustainability in buildings I think of a closed system. Buildings and products that we create are often open systems meaning that materials and goods flow in to form it and are thrown out at the end as waste. This is an unsustainable system and we must move towards closed systems where materials and products can go from cradle to cradle in a full cycle, more like what we see in nature. We can take inspiration from nature and use concepts such as biomimicry to guide us towards creating more closed systems.

Additionally, we should think about the building as a system and not as its parts, in addition to the expanded system surrounding and interacting with the building system. Through integrative and integrated design we can accomplish this. The 12 pillars of integrative design cause us to consider the boundaries of the system and project intent, the purpose of what we include in our design, simplify our strategies and so much more. Integrative design embraces a beginners mind and aims to ask new questions that brings sustainability to the forefront. Integrated design encourages collaboration across disciplines throughout a project, which makes it much easier to view a building as a whole system, as the parts are considered together throughout the design process. With constant collaboration, design decisions can be made much more effectively and decrease the disconnect between team members and stakeholders.


Bullitt Center, Seattle

Living Building Certification; Net Zero Energy; Net Zero Water.


Harare’s 1996 Eastgate Centre, Zimbabwe

uses passive design inspired by termite mounds

The building uses 90% less mechanical energy to deliver normal comfort, if not better, to 31,600 m2 with normal construction cost and 20% lower rents


Khoo Teck Paut Hospital, Singapore

Rainforest-like landscaping weaves in and out of the hospital, natural habitat for butterflies, birds, dragonflies, and fish.

Notable design architectural features include natural ventilation in patient rooms and collaboration with the city to transform a storm water pond to a lake feature.

Biophilic design award