Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Biophilic Design Summit

March 9, 2018 @ 8:30 am - 4:00 pm EST

Presented by: Green Building Alliance, International Living Future Institute, the Living Product Hub, and Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens


“Biophilic design is a design philosophy, and has the potential to intentionally reconnect people and nature through buildings. It goes beyond adding plants or a water feature and focuses on connecting to the particular ecology of a place, to its culture and climate to create buildings that are full of life.” Amanda Sturgeon, author, CEO, International Living Future Institute


Register Now


Join us for this immersive learning workshop with thought-provoking talks and meaningful exercises led by some of the leading practitioners in biophilic design. Stay after for continued networking and discussion, co-hosted by the Pittsburgh Living Future Collaborative.

Harvard biologist and environmentalist Edward O. Wilson coined the term biophilia – “love of life or living systems” – to describe humanity’s innate connection with the natural world. Wilson worked with thought-leaders like Stephen R. Kellert to further develop the theories and research around biophilia, which led to the emerging field of biophilic design.

Biophilic design promotes improved human health and wellbeing by creating connections between people and nature in the built environment. As we continue to spend approximately 90% of our time indoors, integrating biophilic design in the places where we live, work, learn, play, worship, and convene together is integral to advancing health, happiness, productivity, and overall wellbeing.

This workshop will highlight and provide:

• Talks highlighting the research behind biophilia and biophilic design
• Examples of current businesses and projects that have incorporated biophilic design practices
• Mindfulness exercises and time to enjoy Phipps Conservatory’s Tropical Forest and regenerative spaces
• Time with other practitioners to develop example biophilic design visions for projects and/or places
• Space to connect with other professionals in the field



8:30–9:00 a.m. – Breakfast and Networking
9:00–9:30 a.m. – Welcome
9:30–11:30 a.m – Presentations & Exercises
11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. – Lunch with Keynote from Dr. Matthew Baral
1:00–4:00 p.m. – Exercises and Hands-On Applied Learning Activities
4:00–5:00 p.m. – Networking and cash bar, co-hosted by the Pittsburgh Living Future Collaborative


Speakers & Facilitators

Amanda Sturgeon, FAIA, CEO, International Living Future Institute (ILFI), ILFI’S Biophilic Design Initiative Advisory Board Member

Richard Piacentini, Executive Director, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, ILFI’S Biophilic Design Initiative Advisory Board Member

Sonja Bochart, IIDA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, Principal, Shepley Bulfinch; ILFI’s Biophilic Design Initiative Advisory Board Member

Erica Cochran Hameen, Ph.D., Assoc. AIA, NOMA, LEED AP, Assistant Professor, Carnegie Mellon University

Patricia Culley, AIA, WELL AP, LEED AP, Associate, Bohlin Cywinsky Jackson

Dr. Matthew Baral, teaches a medical school course called The Human in Nature

Michelle King, Learning Instigator, Love Activist, Transformer; Green & Healthy Schools Academy Consultant

Jenna Cramer (Co-facilitator), LFA, LEED AP, Vice President, Transformation & Community, Green Building Alliance


Additional Resources

• Learn more about Biophilic Design and Amanda Sturgeon’s new book, Creating Biophilic Buildings

“A Greener More Healthful Place to Work” by Richard Schiffman, New York Times, January 11, 2018.

“What Is and Is Not Biophilic Design?” By Stephen R. Kellert; Metropolis Magazine, October 15, 2015


Speaker & Facilitator Bios

Amanda Sturgeon, FAIA is the CEO of the International Living Future Institute. She joined the Institute in 2010 following a career as a licensed architect with fifteen years experience designing and managing some of the most sustainable buildings in the Pacific Northwest. She has served on many national boards and committees and has taught at the University of Washington as well as Bainbridge Graduate Institute. Amanda was a founding board member of the Cascadia Region Green Building Council in 2000. She was elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2013 and a LEED Fellow later the same year in recognition for her extensive advocacy and volunteer service to the green building movement. She was named as one of the top ten most powerful women in sustainability in 2015 as a recipient of the Women in Sustainability Leadership Award.


Sonja Bochart, IIDA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP has over twenty years of experience as a health and wellness focused designer, educator and biophilic design consultant. Her portfolio includes higher-education, healthcare, cultural, and corporate design, including projects meeting LEED, LBC and WELL Building Standard certification. Sonja focuses on design that support both human and ecological health and wellbeing, leading immersive and experientially based biophilic design project team workshops. She attests that well-designed projects not only respect and support our communities and their surrounding environment; they can promote human physical and physiological health benefits and create places of wellness – for the mind, body and spirit.


Since 1994, Richard Piacentini has led the green transformation of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, including construction of the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, the only building in the world to meet: the Living Building Challenge™, LEED® Platinum, WELL™ Platinum, and 4 Stars Sustainable SITES™ certifications. Richard is interested in the important connection between people and plants particularly as it relates to human and environmental health. He serves as past Chair of the International Living Future Institute™ (ILFI) and is a past president of the American Public Gardens Association. He has received numerous professional honors, including ILFI and USGBC leadership awards.


Erica Cochran Hameen, Ph.D., Assoc. AIA, NOMA, LEED AP is an Assistant Professor and UDream Program Director at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and an Architectural Designer. Erica serves as an Instructor for multiple graduate and undergraduate courses, recently developed a new course focused on energy efficient and healthy retrofits, and is an instrumental coordinator with the CMU’s UDream program, which provides recent graduates a deeper understanding of urban design through research projects and internships. Cochran has received numerous honors for her research and architectural design project participation including awards from the AIA, NY Landmarks Conservancy, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Faculty and Graduate Student Awards, and most recently Best Proposal in a Department of Energy (DOE) Competition presented at the White House Conference Room. She is also a contributing researcher for a Sustainable Engineering textbook and served as one of the Principal Investigators for the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI), formally the EEB Hub, established by the DOE as an Energy-Regional Innovation Cluster.


Patricia Culley, AIA, WELL AP, LEED AP, is an Associate at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, an award-winning national architecture firm that excels in thoughtful, humane design that celebrates the spirit of place. A leader in the firm for sustainability, Patricia is accredited in both LEED and WELL Building Standards and regularly volunteers her time as an Ambassador presenter of the Living Building Challenge. Her extensive knowledge of sustainable design strategies and technology is best exemplified by her work as Project Architect for the recently-completed Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh, the world’s first free and public Living Building Challenge targeted project. Patricia has been featured in multiple national online and print publications, and frequently speaks about sustainability at regional and national conferences.


Dr. Matthew Baral is a clinical professor of pediatric medicine and has been supervising medical students and teaching pediatrics in the classroom for the past seventeen years. In addition to the clinical sciences, Dr. Baral teaches a medical school course called The Human in Nature. This course explores the concepts, theories, and research behind the benefits of nature exposure and biophilic design, in order to impart upon future doctors the necessity for blending the natural and built environments.



Michelle King is first and foremost a learner and an instigator of learning. She spent 16 years honing her craft in Mt. Lebanon, and her quest to instigate courageous conversations has led to her work with The Environmental Charter School where she teaches Cultural Literacy. She is constantly seeking to create dynamic learning experiences that inspire wonder, discovery, contradiction, frustration, and joy. In making connections locally and globally, Michelle pushes the boundaries of where learning should occur, pursuing her interests in game-based learning, design, restorative justice, equity, social justice, and teacher empowerment. Through her partnerships with the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, Carnegie Science Center, Hear Me, the Remake Learning ecosystem, ThinkZone Games and other provocateurs, Michelle is helping to create equitable, empathetic learning experiences for all Pittsburghers.


Jenna Cramer, LFA, LEED AP, Jenna leads GBA’s efforts to sustainably  transform projects, buildings, schools, and communities throughout the 26-county Western Pennsylvania region.  She created and implements the Green & Healthy Schools Academy for preK-12 stakeholders, which includes the integration of sustainability leadership and educational programs into area schools and districts.  Jenna also created and curates GBA’s Inspire Speakers Series, and Green Financing; assists transformational green building and sustainability projects; and facilitates community engagement to create healthy, sustainable places.



March 9, 2018
8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Event Categories:


Jenna Cramer


Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Inc.
One Schenley Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 United States
+ Google Map