1. Who are some of the customers and clients of GSC Architects?
“GSC’s customer base is very diverse. I’d like to think GSC’s customer base is just as diverse as any other architectural firm in Austin. Our customers include commercial clients, such as HPI. They include universities, school districts, and we have some notable industrial clients as well, such as Samsung.”
2. How far afield are your projects?
“GSC’s business right now is primarily in Central Texas. I would say that 75% of our projects are in the City of Austin or in the Travis and Williamson County area.”
3. What percentage of your business is green building and why is this an important focus for the firm?
“I would say that 100% of our business involves sustainable design, it really does. About 30% of our clients have asked us to process their projects as a LEED project.”
4. What led GSC Architects to lend in-kind space to USGBC-CTB?
“Well, that’s an easy one. We were approached by the Central Texas Chapter and the opportunity for us to offer that space was immediate. We had just moved into the space in November of 2011. We had the space, we had the relationship with USGBC, and it was just the perfect match.”
5. Are there any benefits to having USGBC in the office?
“I’ll answer the question about the benefits in this way. We take great pride in having our meetings, whether they are community or whether they are business related, in our office. We try to provide space; it is efficient for us. We like to be the center of our projects. We take a lot of pride in having a lot of meetings where other people in the office can see who is attending meetings. So, that’s just a lot of traffic in our front door. Having USGBC here with us adds to the interesting traffic that comes through our front door.”
6. What would you say to other companies or organizations to encourage them to partner with the Chapter?
“Not a hard question. As far as partnership, this has been very, very good for GSC Architects. We would encourage other companies to join up and find a place for partnership with USGBC and especially with the Central Texas Chapter. The relationship has helped us understand what the Chapter does and how much activity is going on. It has given us a face to the Chapter and it is a constant reminder of sustainable design. Because we are actually in fact hosting the Chapter here, it gives us a little extra responsibility as we are developing our work.”
7. What else would you like to see the Chapter doing? In other words, where can the USGBC Chapter add more value for you as a partner?
“As far as the USGBC Chapter adding value to the operation of my firm, I think the greatest opportunity for us is to participate more in USGBC technical training. I know that the Chapter sponsors more events than we even participate in, so I do know that the Chapter is working very hard at creating events that have technical information. As far as what I would like to see, I would like to see even greater emphasis on the technical requirements on sustainable design and the technical resources that the Chapter can bring as far as information to the architectural community.”
8. From your perspective, where is the green building movement heading in Austin and also in Central Texas?
“The green building movement is certainly only going to get more and more mainstream in this community and in other communities. I think Austin believes that it is ahead of the game – I’m not so sure that it really is – but many communities across this country have embraced sustainable design features in their construction world. I think that the direction that sustainable design is moving is two-fold. First, it is becoming easier because more and more building products and more and more builders are becoming so versed in sustainable practices and products that what was once difficult to find is now readily available and that is a direction. That is the future, rather than finding closed doors. Closed doors are now really open doors for sustainable design. The second thing that I think is going to happen is sustainable design is going to become more and more requirement based. What was once an innovation is now a standard and I think that trend will only continue.”