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Community News

Jun 14, 2017

Back to the sustainable future

Batchelor header

Image: Solar Panel. Credit: Petr Kratochvil, creative commons license, modified.

2009 was a period of significant transition at the BSA. This was at the end of the Richard Fitzgerald and Nancy Jenner era. Richard retired at the end of 2008, and I felt during that year I was the enjoying the parting words of voices who had been a guiding force for the organization. We undertook a careful selection process for a successor Executive Director. We picked Tom Keane, who was wonderful for the new enthusiasm he brought…past City Councilor, financial sage and prolific writer. But it would be a short-lived run. We are stronger for all we went through, and Eric White, who was right there with us through all those years, is now our current Executive Director. Thank you, Eric.

An initiative to which I and the BSA dedicated particular effort in 2009 was sustainability. The Board formed the Committee for the Advancement of Sustainability with a membership that drew heavily from the Board itself to give the cause a greater organization-wide push. There was recognition that among the many aspects of sustainability energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change were getting particularly critical, and we would need broad alliances with other professional and advocacy communities in the city and state.

Another significant transition got started in 2009. Discussions began with Boston Properties which led to the BSA’s move from 52 Broad St. to BP’s redevelopment of Russia Wharf into Atlantic Wharf. We had enthusiasm for taking the BSA into a more prominent role in the City. It was a good move to be making for the long term, and it was done in the face of a serious recession which was challenging the BSA and all architects.

The recession (at least for many architects in Boston) is a piece of history. Climate change looms with only fragile progress to show in spite of all efforts. Our current elections are a constant reminder of how partial the success of the American dream, as well as sustainability, has become for many. However, the BSA Space is a reality, and architects’ energy for finding new creative possibilities in our communities continues to burst forth. Future: Bright.

Jim Batchelor FAIA, 2009 BSA president