The Living building challenge is not for the faint of heart. Part polemic, part rating system, it looks squarely at the environmental crisis, from rising global temperatures to shrinking natural habitats, and asks: What are we going to do about it, not in a few decades or a few years, but today?
The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS), under construction in downtown Vancouver, will serve as a "living laboratory" for the study of building products, technologies and systems in context. The idea for CIRS, designed by Busby Perkins+Will, was conceived about eight years ago by John Robinson, former director of the University of British Columbia's Sustainable Development Research Initiative. He was frustrated that sustainable processes were not being implemented quickly enough and envisioned a building that could operate within its own footprint.