ULI has selected architect Hans Papke as the recipient of the 2021–2022 ULI Apgar Thought Leader Award, which recognizes the authors of outstanding written works for Urban Land.

Hans Papke, senior associate project architect at DLR Group.

Established in 2020 by ULI trustee and Julia Morgan Society member Mahlon “Sandy” Apgar, the biennial ULI Apgar Thought Leader Award encourages original research and innovative ideas about buildings and communities. The winner of this cycle was selected from industry-written thought leadership pieces published in Urban Land magazine and will receive a $1,500 honorarium and free registration for the Institute’s Fall or Spring Meeting.

Papke was recognized for his article Using Biomimicry to Design Smart Buildings” from the Summer 2022 issue of Urban Land magazine. The article investigates how the architectural practice of biomimicry can help improve building performance, maximize energy efficiency, and capture the beauty of the natural environment. Using the Pinal County Attorney’s Office in Florence, Arizona, as a case study, Papke details how his design team used biomimicry to mirror natural flora from the surrounding desert—specifically, the saguaro cactus.

“Blending nature with the built environment is one of my passions as an architect and designer. To win the ULI Apgar Thought Leader award for an article that showcases my love of craft is an honor,” Papke said.

Papke is senior associate project architect at DLR Group, a global integrated design firm specializing in architecture, engineering, interiors, planning, and building optimization for new construction, renovation, and adaptive use. He strives to create architecture with an emphasis on functionality and design spaces where people can live, work, and play in a healthy environment. A member of the American Institute of Architects, Papke graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in architecture.

Winners are selected by a three-member committee, which evaluates each article on its analytical clarity, relevance to current land use issues, and overall contribution to development literature.

For 2021–2022, the committee consisted of Chuck Schilke, senior lecturer, the Edward St. John Real Estate Program, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School; Faron Hill, president, Peregrine Oak and ULI Foundation chair; and Sibley Flemingvice president and editor in chief, Urban Land magazine.

“Hans’ piece conveys an exceptionally valuable set of ideas with remarkable depth and clarity,” Schilke said. “Biomimicry tends to be outside the domain of most real estate professionals. But this article makes a compelling case for including it in our core toolbox. We hope Hans’s piece provides a roadmap for new developments in similar environments.”

“It’s always an honor to see experts from across the industry produce incredible work that reinforces ULI’s mission in communities worldwide,” said Mahlon “Sandy” Apgar, who established the award through a gift to the ULI Foundation’s Our Cities, Our Future campaign, which aims to raise $100 million in support of ULI’s mission. “This case study illustrates how nature is not merely a design element that connects people with the outdoor environment, but can serve as a versatile blueprint for sustainable architecture and reducing our carbon footprint. I’m delighted that Hans has been selected to receive this award, and I look forward to seeing what he continues to accomplish throughout his career.”

ULI is accepting submissions for potential publication and consideration for the 2023-2024 award cycle on a rolling basis. For more information on the ULI Apgar Thought Leader Award, visit americas.uli.org/apgar.

More on this topic: 10 Stunning examples of Biomimicry in Architecture | What is Biomimetic Architecture?

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