Toward the Zero-Energy City

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

Northwestern University Library Board of Governors and the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science present

Toward the Zero-Energy City
A lecture by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill
Thursday, April 14 at 4:30 pm
Hardin Hall
Rebecca Crown Center 633 Clark Street  
Evanston, Illinois 60208
Free and open to the public.
Reception to follow.
RSVP to 847-491-7641 or
Architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill set new paradigms: their work includes the tallest skyscrapers and most sustainable buildings in the world. At their Chicago-based firm, Smith and Gill utilize a holistic, integrated design approach that emphasizes a symbiotic relationship with the natural environment. This philosophy, called “global environmental contextualism,” is predicated on the understanding that everything within the built and natural environment is connected and that a building’s design should stem from an understanding of its role within that context — locally, regionally, and globally.

In this lecture Smith and Gill will discuss past and current projects, including the firm’s American Institute of Architects award–winning Decarbonization Plan for Chicago; the Masdar Headquarters in the United Arab Emirates, the world’s first large-scale positive-energy building; and a plan for a new city-sized sustainable development in China.

Adrian Smith, FAIA, RIBA Smith’s extraordinary body of work includes some of the world’s most recognizable landmark structures, including the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, Rowes Wharf in Boston, and Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates, the world’s tallest structure. Smith considers each project holistically, taking into consideration site orientation, climate, geography, and cultural and social influences to create highly sustainable projects that achieve contextualism within the global environment.

Gordon Gill, AIA Gill is one of the world’s preeminent exponents of performance-based design. His work ranges from the world’s largest buildings to elements of a single home and is driven by his philosophy that there is a language of performance: a purposeful relationship between design and the performance criteria placed upon the subject. His designs have repeatedly been recognized by the AIA, and in 2009 he was selected as the Best Emerging Architect by the Chicago Reader.


Image by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture LLP, Rendering of the Masdar Headquarters, Masdar City, United Arab Emirates.