Rives Taylor is a principal at Gensler, an architecture, planning, and design firm, where he orchestrates sustainability and resilience planning for clients around the globe. He also leads sustainable design education at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston, and teaches sustainable design at Rice University, also in Houston.
You don’t need a bunker mentality to imbue a community with resilience to the risks of nature.
The vision of developer CDC Houston, Springwoods Village has been master planned by Design Workshop with sustainable design guidelines developed by Gensler to balance the natural attributes of the land, to protect the existing ecosystem, and to provide a mix of uses and the density required for a true live/work/play environment.
In a recent New Yorker article, "Adaptation: How Can Cities Be 'Climate-Proofed'?," sociologist Eric Klinenberg points out that much of the discussion around resilience focuses on physical infrastructure, when social infrastructure can play an equally important role in how well a community survives a natural disaster.
It was not just Hurricane Katrina that convinced BP to build Helios Plaza, its new mission critical–type facility in Houston, with a strong resilience program. It was also the mundane reality that flood-prone Buffalo Bayou is only blocks away from its campus.
Clients increasingly ask for buildings that can continue to function—and protect lives—through any disaster.