Robert Berkebile, the founding principal of BNIM Architects and a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council, has been selected to receive a $100,000 Heinz Award. The award honors his role in promoting green building design and for his commitment and action toward restoring social, economic, and environmental vitality to America’s communities through sustainable architecture and planning.
As the founder of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Committee on the Environment, Mr. Berkebile has been one of the central forces behind a new focus on sustainable building that has influenced thousands of architects and changed the face of green architecture in America. He has devoted himself to improving the world through his profession, embracing the cause of sustainability and responsible environmental design practices.
Mr. Berkebile experienced a personal epiphany after a Kansas City hotel he helped design collapsed in the early 1980s. Though not caused by his design, that experience challenged him to devote his career to harnessing the field of architecture to make a better world.
As a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Mr. Berkebile, a partner in BNIM Architects, Kansas City, Mo., helped to develop the council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, rating system, a voluntary, consensus-based standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. Since its inception in 1998, LEED has grown to encompass more than 14,000 projects in the United States and 30 countries.
Mr. Berkebile is a pioneer in restorative design with the goal of integrating social, environmental and economic vitality. His sustainable design and planning projects range from redeveloping plans for the former naval base in Charleston, S.C. to restoring towns along the Mississippi River severely damaged by natural disasters, including New Orleans.
About the Heinz Award
Established by Teresa Heinz in 1993 to honor the memory of her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz, the Awards celebrate the accomplishments and spirit of the Senator by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of individuals in the areas of greatest importance to him.
The Heinz Awards, administered by the Heinz Family Philanthropies, recognize outstanding individuals for their contributions in the areas of: Arts and Humanities, the Environment, the Human Condition, Public Policy, and Technology, the Economy and Employment.
Nominations are submitted by an anonymous Council of Nominators and are reviewed by Jurors appointed by the Heinz Family Philanthropies. Award recipients are ultimately selected by the Board of Directors.