1652359152742 Space

A Passion for Action

Sept. 1, 2003
EditorialA Passion for ActionOne can only admire the level of passion an individual like HOK's Bill Valentine brings to his lifelong career as an architect, as well as his devotion to the firm for which he has worked for 41 years—and which he has served as president since 2000. His belief in the value of architecture and its ability to enrich peoples' lives is steadfast, grounded in years of exploring and demonstrating exactly how architecture can indeed improve the living condition.His convictions run deep, and he is not afraid to voice his opinions when asked. For example, on the subject of consumerism, he offers this insight: "Personally, I am repulsed by our rampant consumerism and this notion of misusing all the things we have. Think about it. If you were going to pick a site for a country anywhere in the world and you looked the whole planet, you'd probably pick the United States. It's got all these resources and yet, we are completely screwing it up. Go to any one of the bigger cities and drive outside of the core, and it's just junk. It drives me crazy."Valentine—who has been described as both a missionary and a wagon-circler—is especially vocal about the architectural field's role in the area of social responsibility, especially sustainable design and building practices—a role that HOK has historically embraced and in which it is an acknowledged leader. In fact, for six consecutive years, HOK has earned a place on the AIA Committee on the Environment's annual Top 10 Green Projects list.And yet, despite this and many other significant achievements in the green building field, Valentine says that HOK has not done nearly enough. What he wants is to make being green both easily achievable and extremely affordable. Only then, he believes, will architects fully realize their potential to strongly influence the lives of all the people they design for, the communities in which they design, and the planet on which these people and buildings all reside. His goal: 90 percent-plus of all new buildings that HOK designs will be green.This challenging goal serves as an inspiration. It underscores the potential for achieving greatness by bringing the full scope of our abilities and passion to each project on which we work. If we don't, then aren't we cheating ourselves and the people for whom the projects are designed? In the end, isn't the absence of this passion and conviction what makes a project—and the work we do—less important?It's necessary to remind ourselves daily that each and every one of us can make significant and powerful changes, that we can make a difference. "The present shouts, the future whispers," observed Robert Kennedy, Jr. at his EnvironDesign®7 keynote presentation. It's time for all of us to pay closer attention to the quiet voices within—and the vociferous advocacy of practitioners like Valentine who already have.
Katie Sosnowchik
Editorial Director

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