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Architect Pablo La Roche leads Arcadis NV sustainable design program

The 825 Pacific Artistic Hub in Vancouver, designed by IBI Group.

Posted on November 20, 2023

Amsterdam-based sustainable building design and consultancy company Arcadis NV is fully committed to decarbonizing the built environment, a mission being spearheaded by noted architect Pablo La Roche, director of the company’s sustainable design division based in California.

Last year, Arcadis became a major player in Canada with the acquisition of Toronto-based IBI Group, the technology-driven design outfit which has long been one of this country’s most innovative architectural and engineering firms.

La Roche, who also serves as architecture professor at Cal Poly Pomona, is one of the world’s leading authorities in nature-based solutions to the built environment and is a fierce crusader for sustainable design, which he sees as merely the first phase in net-zero building development.

“Sustainability is the starting point, but it’s not enough. We need to go further and that’s what I am seeking to accomplish with our projects,” La Roche said in an interview with Sustainable Biz Canada.

“Sustainability is based on the idea of doing less harm to the environment, but that can also take the form of a code-compliant building that is simply the best low-carbon design the architect can get away with without going to jail. You didn’t do anything special.”

“There are varying levels of impact in sustainable design. But if we really want to do something good, let’s do regenerative design, let’s carry out climate-positive design, something that will make the environment around the buildings better than it was before . . . and enhance the quality of life for those who live and work in those spaces.”

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