Dossier: Gunnar Hubbard, FAIA

About the 2020 Build Pittsburgh Keynote Speaker

By Marissa Dello Russo Posted on March 11, 2020

Name: Gunnar Hubbard, FAIA

Firm: Thornton Tomasetti

Family: Married with two children – TJ (18), Abby (16)

Years in practice: 27+

Education: BS in Environmental Studies, UVM. MARCH, University of Oregon



Your first job:

  • Camp Counselor, Camp Killooleet, Hancock, VT
  • Union of Concerned Scientists, Renewable Energy Campaign Manager
  • Executive Director, Yestermorrow Design/Build School
  • Research Scholar, Green Building Services, Rocky Mountain Institute

Project you’re proudest of:

  • Village Centre, 48 Unit Affordable Housing, Passive House Certified
  • Bosarage Family Education Center, Net Positive Energy & LEED Platinum, Boothbay, Maine.
  • Block C, CityCenter in Las Vegas – for the scale of the project… getting it to LEED Gold was an amazing success story
  • 150+ LEED for Existing Building Certifications for Vasakronan in Sweden

What have you always wanted to tell your clients? I say this to most… but not to all… but will… You have the opportunity to lead by example….

What’s the most annoying thing architects do? They focus too much on the aesthetic solution, and do not also create a performance solution.

Favorite tool (can be digital, drafting, physical,…):  I am an old school sketcher – but hire some of the best parametric modelers using grasshopper as the platform.

Favorite building: Gunnar Asplund Library in Stockholm, Sweden

Favorite outdoor space:  Yosemite National Park

Architect you’d like to have a drink with: Norman Foster – I have been working with his firm for years – but have not had the pleasure of meeting him.

Best gift to give an architect: Data and Passion. Climate Change is real. You have a moral obligation to be part of the solution.

If you hadn’t become an architect, what would you have been? What I am! A sustainability consultant…and a recovering architect!.. Seriously… A builder, an educator… but I feel I am all of these!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where? Stockholm, Sweden

What’s on your iPod/Pandora/Spotify? I am a bit stuck in the past… I listen still to Grateful Dead… and many other jam bands… phish, moe… and more!

The secret to my success: I love what I do! I am passionate, and every day feel my work is helping make a difference.

Advice to young architects: Embrace climate change as the base to your design solutions. Do not waver. Do not let the principle designer in your firm, or even the client who hired you, tell you this is not important.

Architectural quote to practice by: Performance and Beauty are one and the same.


You can read more about Gunnar’s Keynote Address at Build Pittsburgh here.


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