For our Earth Day presentations next summer, we want to create a scale model of one of our neighborhood blocks. Each EcoKid will create a dwelling and decide what to do with a lot. The goal will be demonstrating sustainability with a high quality of life.
On November 7, as our first step the EcoKids went to visit Bob Berkebiles firm of Berkebile Nelson Immenschuh McDowell Architects (BNIM). We arranged for bus passes with the Metro and neighbor, Tonya Lee, who works at the Metro brought them home with her the night before. Saturday morning, in light rain, Marty Kraft, and volunteers Ellie Dawson, Andrew Pattison and 13 EcoKids boarded the bus at 59th and Troost. At 51st and Troost, three Rockhurst education students, Lisa Anzalone, Ellen Helmsing and Greg Goertz joined us. At 39th and Troost Bob Berkebile and volunteer, Roberta Vogel, got on and we continued on to Bobs office at 12th and Main. The trip down was wonderful.
It was a perfect fantasy of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. This is my imagined conversation.
"Well theres Architect Bob Berkebile getting on the bus. Hey Bob, can we come down and visit you in your office and learn about green buildings?
"Why sure Marty, you and the EcoKids are always welcome at my office."
Jason McLennan, another architect who works with Bob, met us in the reception office with a big smile. There were lots of windows to look out and several models and sculptures and the hungry minds took it all in. We went to the conference room where the students viewed a slide presentation which helped them understand resource use in building construction. The kids saw how building design concepts, and choice of materials can greatly reduce our use of natural resources in building construction and operation. The slides gave an overview of world ecosystems, showed examples of resource extraction from those sites, and depicted several buildings from around the world that use "green" concepts, especially for energy efficiency. Of course, some BNIM structures were featured, most notably our own KC Zoo Deramus Education Pavilion.
Bob Berkebile is internationally known for his work in educating architects and others on the advantages of designing and building with the environment in mind. We were fortunate to be able to visit. Thanks to all who helped.