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The HOPES 19th Conference

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exploded-logoThe Holistic Options for Planet Earth Sustainability (HOPES) conference is an annual event, held every April by the Ecological Design Center, a student group at the University of Oregon. Inaugurated in 1994, the conference is an opportunity for students, faculty, community members, and visiting scholars to discuss the relationship between ecology and design, and how this connection can produce sustainable buildings. The conference usually consists of a combination of panels, keynote speakers, professional showcases and workshops. Past topics addressed during the conference include: environmental literacy, food sustainability issues, religion and the environment, product innovation, and sustainability in art. Over the past ten years, the conference has brought such luminaries as Shigeru Ban, Sim Van der Ryn, Samuel Mockbee, James Hubbel, Angela Danadijieva, Michael Pyatok, Steve Badanes, Richard Register, David Orr, John Schaeffer, Stephen Kellert, and Clare Cooper Marcus to the U of O campus.

Held every year in April, the HOPES conference has remained the only ecological design conference developed and managed by students.

This year: Dissonance. Synthesis. Initiation.

In past years these conferences have been focused around singular issues from a specific perspective of design. This year HOPES has set out with a new approach: bringing together individuals from multiple disciplines to confront the pertinent issues of our time as a collective. This approach parallels the Oregon School’s history of challenging conventional ideas of conservation and sustainability, HOPES [19]: “Collaborative Futures” looks to re-articulate and direct the contemporary discourse of what it means to foster a sustainable city, region and planet.

This Year’s Speakers:

Carolyn Steel

Book jacketThe question of how to feed cities may be one of the biggest contemporary questions, yet it’s never asked: we take for granted that if we walk into a store or a restaurant, food will be there, magically coming from somewhere. Yet, think of it this way: just in London, every single day, 30 million meals must be provided. Without a reliable food supply, even the most modern city would collapse quickly. And most people today eat food of whose provenance they are unaware.Architect and author Carolyn Steel uses food as a medium to “read” cities and understand how they work. In her book Hungry City she traces — and puts into historical context — food’s journey from land to urban table and thence to sewer. Cities, like people, are what they eat.


Neri Oxman

nerioxmanDesigner Neri Oxman is the Sony Corporation Career Development Professor and Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directs the Mediated Matter design research group. Her group explores how digital design and fabrication technologies mediate between matter and environment to radically transform the design and construction of objects, buildings, and systems. Her goal is to enhance the relationship between the built and the natural environments by employing design principles inspired by nature and implementing them in the invention of novel digital design technologies. Areas of application include product and architectural design, as well as digital fabrication and construction.


Wilson Smith

wilson_in_the_zoo-2Nike designer Wilson Smith has created products for Cross Training and Basketball, Andre Agassi’s signature line, and in 1997, as the dedicated designer for Brand Jordan he created the industry leading AJ 16 & AJ 17. Later he designed for Serena Williams, and Roger Federer. Today, as Creative Catalyst in the ZOO – Nike’s Special Other Operations, he focuses on Nike Better World projects, including the design direction for N7, which brings Sport and all of its benefits to USA and Canadian Native American and Aboriginal communities. Smith’s passion is in Access to Sport, aiding earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti, and adaptive design for Paralympics and other athletes with disabilities.


David Cook

david-cook“Given the complexity of any “sustainable” design approach it often becomes difficult to comprehend the broad range of issues and identify a balanced way forward. In management terms there is often insufficient time to consider all the issues and from that make informed decisions for investment and project priorities. Such is the range of issues which require addressing that there are few, if any people who have both the depth and width of specialist knowledge to advise on how such a balance may be achieved and maintained.” – David Cook.

David Cook is a Pietro Belluschi distinguished visiting professor at the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts. Past work includes working for Behnisch Architekten, “an international leader in large scale sustainable design projects. The Stuttgart, Germany-based architecture and planning firm maintains US offices in Los Angeles and Boston. Their portfolio includes the LEED Platinum-rated Genzyme Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Norddeutsche Landesbank in Hannover, Germany; the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Cultural District Riverfront Development Plan; a corporate headquarters for Unilever in Hamburg, Germany; and a Science Complex for Harvard University.” Cook is now part of the Stuttgart based firm HaasCookZemmrich – Studio 2050. A link below can be found to their site:


Lola Sheppard

Lateral Architects

lola_2011Lateral Office was founded in 2003 by Lola Sheppard and Mason White. The firm’s work and research privileges architecture as a mutable territory that is formed out of, and responsive to, its environment and history. The work invites readings of Architecture as a by-product of complex networks within ecology and culture. Lateral’s design research exists at the intersection of architecture, landscape, and urbanism, and is often situated in marginal or overlooked contexts. The work posits that the role of the architect is not simply problem solver or designer, but cultural, environmental and spatial detective, bringing to light the forces at work within a site-specific climate and geography, and able to look for synergies between issues and opportunities. Lateral Office have been pursuing research and design work on the role of architecture, and the public realm in the Arctic for the past five years. Lateral’s work in the North test the potential for architecture and infrastructure to be geographically scalable, environmentally adaptable, and multi-purpose in its programmability. White and Sheppard are also founding Directors of ”” \t “_blank” InfraNet Lab, an exploratory initiative launched in 2008. InfraNet Lab is a non-profit research collective probing the spatial byproducts of contemporary resource logistics. InfraNet Lab is an editor of the journal Bracket: Architecture, Environment, Digital Culture ( HYPERLINK “” Lateral Office was awarded the Arctic Inspiration Prize in 2012 and the First Place for North America from the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, for their project Arctic Food Network. They received the Emerging Voices from the Architectural League of New York in 2011, and the 2010 Professional Prix de Rome from the Canada Council for the Arts for their project Emergent North. Lateral Office/ InfraNet Lab are the authors of Pamphlet Architecture 30, Coupling: Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism, published by Princeton Architectural Press (2011).


Randy Hester

randy-hesterRandolph (Randy) Hester Jr. is a landscape architect, professor and sociologist based in Berkeley, California. His practical work and teaching has focused on applying sociology to the design of neighborhoods, cities and landscapes. Hester is a strong advocate for community participation in the development of what he calls ecological democracies and sacred landscapes – spaces that grow out of a true understanding of the needs of a local community and the potential of its resources. His approach has excited communities across the US and abroad, and inspired countless students to actively engage the social and environmental context of their work.


and Himat Khalsa

The Hopes 19 Conference is being held at Lawrence Hall on the UofO Campus April 4th-6th 2013. The Hopes conference is always free.  For more information:

EDN will be covering the conference, with a particular focus on the Aquaponics presentation on Saturday.

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