Gallery: LIVE WEBCAST: Participate in ‘Design with a Conscience’ Webcas...


Interested in the intersection of car and building design? Wondering what happens when architects and automotive designers get together to talk about design innovation? Here’s your chance to learn more about what cars and buildings can teach each other and how they can help us push the boundaries of design. We’re extending an exclusive e-vite to Inhabitat readers to join us online at ‘Design with a Conscience’ — a panel discussion between visionary California architects and automotive designers at 12:30 pm pst April 11th, 2013. We’ll be live streaming this discussion on (here), and we’ll focus on how thoughtful, emotionally resonant and sustainable design is improving lives. Featuring notable and visionary minds from both American Institute for Architects (AIA) and Ford Motor Company, this year’s panel discussion will include: Allison Williams of AW ink; Anne Fougeron, Founder of Fougeron Architecture; Ann Hand, CEO of Project Frog; and Freeman Thomas, Director of Strategic Design at Ford Motor Company. Join us live on April 11th to tune into this design discussion — and take part in the conversation by submitting your questions for the speakers below in the comments! We’ll be sending Inhabi-Tees to selected question submitters, so join in!

WHEN: Thursday, April 11, 2013, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. pst (3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. est)

WHERE: Link to live webcast here >

Design with a Conscience Panelists

Allison Williams, FAIA, Architect at AW ink

Allison G. Williams is a principal architect at AW ink. In a career spanning more than 30 years in corporate practice, Williams has designed significant large-scale projects in the San Francisco Bay Area, nationally and internationally. The breadth of her work spans civic, corporate and cultural facilities, places for research and education, mixed-use and high density developments. Williams’ studio design leadership has influenced the work of both Skidmore Owings & Merrill (1980-1997) and Perkins+Will (1997-2012) where with consistent recognition by her professional peers, she evolved to partnership levels. She was a recipient of The Loeb Fellowship at Harvard Graduate School of Design, and received both her Masters of Architecture and Bachelor of Art in the Practice of Art at the University of California, Berkeley. She was elevated to Fellow in the American Institute of Architects in 1997, and served on Perkins+Will Board of Directors from 2010-2012. She is also a member of the Harvard Design Magazine Practitioners Board and past-Chair of Public Architecture’s Board of Directors.

Anne Fougeron, Founder of Fougeron Architecture

Anne Fougeron, FAIA, is principal of Fougeron Architecture in San Francisco, California. Born of French parents and raised in Paris and New York, she credits her bicultural upbringing as the source of her aesthetic values, which combine a respect for historic precedent with an interest in melding old and new. In 1986 she founded Fougeron Architecture and went on to design award-winning private- and public- sector projects in a decidedly modernist vocabulary. Fougeron has taught architectural design to undergraduate and graduate students at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as the Howard Friedman Visiting Professor of Professional Practice in the Department of Architecture from 2003 to 2004.

Ann Hand, CEO of Project Frog

Ann Hand is the CEO of smart-building startup Project Frog. She didn’t begin her career in a green job. As an executive in training with Mobil, she ran gas stations in inner city Philadelphia, and she went on to spend about 19 years in the oil industry with ExxonMobil, Amoco and BP, where she lead global marketing around “Beyond Petroleum.” Now Hand is in charge of Project Frog, a green-business startup that is serious about shaking up the construction industry. Project Frog aims not only to create better buildings–buildings that are attractive, energy-efficient and pleasant places to work–but also to change the way buildings are made. Its structures are modular construction put together from pre-fab kits of parts, shipped by truck and assembled onsite.

Freeman Thomas, Director, Strategic Design, Ford Motor Company

Freeman Thomas won his first drawing competition in the first grade — it was a fire truck. Today, Thomas is credited with delivering some of the hottest designs in the automotive industry. “I have been designing my dream cars all my life,” says Thomas. “It’s my passion.” As the Director of Ford’s Strategic Desgin, Thomas runs the advanced design studios in California and Dearborn, Michigan. He also works closely with engineers and product experts to create compelling new production vehicles. Prior to joining Ford in 2005, Thomas was the head of DaimlerChrysler’s Pacifica Advanced Design Center. His 22-year career boasts a hit parade of vehicles including the Chrysler 300 concept, the Audi TT concept and Volkswagen Concept 1 (known today as the New Beetle).


Cars and buildings: There are many parallels between architecture and automotive design. Both disciplines are based on a human-informed creative process. In each case, people are seeking a comfortable, welcoming and safe space in which to spend a significant amount of time. How does automotive design inform architecture? How does architecture shape the process of automotive design?

Emotional design:
Consumers develop an emotional bond with their purchases – and inhabitants develop an emotional attachment to the spaces they inhabit. Whether designing a building or a car, it is essential to create an emotional connection through a design that is functional and timeless, but also responsible. What processes can we use in our designs to create emotional connections with people?

Sustainability: Consumers want more than something that just looks good – they also want to feel like they are doing the right thing when they make a purchase. How can green building practices help inform sustainability in automotive design? What can we learn in terms of energy-efficiency in automobiles that can help push sustainability in buildings?

Emerging materials: As research evolves, both buildings and cars are showing an increasing focus on using materials that are more robust and environmentally friendly, without having to compromise on style. Both industries are evolving quickly and designers need to keep their fingers on the pulse of that change to stay successful, as material science, energy engineering and smart technologies evolve. What are some of the most exciting new developments in materials, both for architecture and automotive design?

Please join in this discussion by submitting your questions for the speakers in the comments below! We’ll be sending out organic, awesome one-of-a-kind Inhabi-Tees to selected question submitters!


or your inhabitat account below


  1. Jex Somosot April 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    is sustainability really possible within a system of infinite growth and free markets?

  2. vicarious1 April 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Very exiting to have this webcast tomorrow. I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’d like to know how someone with a totally new design concept applicable to nearly any car can present it to car companies without it loosing the ownership.
    Does publishing it online like a building concept for an official first, protect it from copyright theft? Because for building it does NOT work. 50.000$ for a worldwide patent is way to expensive for one designer

  3. rogerrabid April 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    When will both industries use efficient 3d printing technology to use a zero-waste policy when building? (since buildings produce such an excessive amount of construction waste) 3D printing can facilitate every aspect of architecture design including mock-ups of joints, connections and complex geometry. The same can be done with the auto industry by only creating the cars the consumer demands and not wasting materials by creating excessive automobiles.

  4. peacekeeper42 April 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    The automobile is a great source of energy.
    Why not use hybrid electric cars battery charging systems to generate household voltages electricity that could be used to power our homes during power outages and to charge the car batteries when the car is parked at home.
    This would also be very useful for construction workers working on sites not connected to the grid.
    There is an enormous sales potential here.
    I would be prepared to offer a gas turbine design with a total of only 9 parts including nuts and bolts to replace the piston engine to charge the batteries.
    Multiple fuels can be used with this turbine.
    No oil or cooling required thus reducing the number of parts to less than 10% of current hybrid electric technologies.

  5. deyermann April 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    We are a manufacturer of components to build Ultra Efficient net Positive Energy Lifestyle homes with full integration of Electric Vehicles in the overarching Natural Energy Management Strategy of the home/mobility package powered by Solar, Wind & Geothermal ambient thermal energies. Check out our website at for more information. My question is: How soon will you be ready to engage with us to get a Technology Demonstrator Display Model Home built and open to the public in a subdivision?

  6. April 9, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    We are a manufacturer of components to build Ultra Efficient net Positive Energy Lifestyle homes with full integration of Electric Vehicles in the overarching Natural Energy Management Strategy of the home/mobility \\\\\\\”package\\\\\\\” powered by Solar, Wind & Geothermal ambient thermal energies. Check out our website at for more information. My question is: How soon will you be ready to engage with us to get a Technology Demonstrator Display Model Home built and open to the public in a subdivision?

  7. peacekeeper42 April 8, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    I am looking for support to put together a research and development program with the final objective to bring radioactive waste in Earth orbit and from there, send it into the sun.
    The project will require a minimal investment of $5,00.00 and will be self financing after the initial proof of concept of a turbine intended to replace the piston engines and capable of using any type of fuel thus reducing our dependency to fossil fuels. This turbine will be particularly suited to hybrid electric vehicle, home heating and electrical generation.

  8. Erin from Long Island April 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Considering the level of traffic congestion and pollution produced my commuters, how can we work with employers and public transportation to create a better system that encourages the use of public transportation? Could a destination-specific shuttle system for larger employers be possible?

  9. theghost9533 April 5, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    I’m interested to see when, and how, the auto industry will catch up to the building industry’s “greening” efforts. I don’t think it’ll be in my lifetime but I’m confident it will occur.

    Martin Kasper

  10. Ashish Bahal April 5, 2013 at 7:52 am

    How can LED luminaires adapt and learn from automobile design?

  11. ckerkering April 5, 2013 at 7:18 am

    From our research humans like to live in small self contained communities where they can live, work and produce their own food. Is there a car manufacturer to provide a cheap small 2 person \\\”village car\\\” like a disabled person\\\’s scooter with a very \\\”cool\\\” body. We architects are always challenged to produce acceptable low cost housing, why can\\\’t car manufacturers be challenged to produce a really low cost electric car with a max speed of 30 mph and without tail/ head lamp lenses that cost hundreds of dollars.
    The unique concept for our 3 generation village is on (not com) We are desperate for a village car. Perhaps we have to look for car design students to assist us?

  12. nadus0530 April 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Commuting from suburban areas to city center or to other suburban area workplaces clearly consumes energy (car/public transportation). Yahoo notwithstanding, there are many companies implementing or seriously considering telecommuting for appropriate jobs. What roles do you see telecommuting (work at home)play as one of the ways to minimize car use?

  13. April 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Commuting from suburban areas to city centers or to other suburban area workplaces clearly consumes energy (car/public transportation). Yahoo notwithstanding, there are many companies implementing or seriously considering telecommuting for appropriate jobs both for green and work/life balance considerations. What role do you see telecommuting (work at home)play as one of the ways to minimize car use?

  14. Andra Miliacca April 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Detroit has a huge cache of Art Deco buildings (meant to broadcast the richness and future of the automotive industry). What does Detroit’s next architecture need to say about the automobile, or even the past, or the future of the city?

  15. Andra Miliacca April 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    How does the evolving Technology of Design (computers, 3-D, BIM) effect the direction we go in with both automobiles and the built environment?

  16. chinolee April 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    As in most things two heads are better than one (unless your an animal). Designs that integrate transportation and architecture into something that is seamless and requires very little effort to maintain would encourage us do what is right for us and the future. Imagine driving your car home and charging would automatic, no plugging or unplugging. No plug and play, just play. Sounds crazy but 20 years ago could you even imaging having a live video conversation with someone on the other side of the world with a device that you could carry around in your pocket?

  17. Steve Knotts April 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm


    The Auto Industry has made vast improvements in crash safety with passenger compartment airbags and now smart brake control systems; but why does the Auto Industry continue to use a 100 year old “technology”, of buckling steel structures, as the primary crash energy absorption method, especially when, by definition, buckling is not controllable? Why not use SEM (Solid Ejection Material) shocks ( which are inexpensive, can absorb extreme crash energies and are controllable?!?

    And by the way, there are Homeland Security applications that relate to buildings and civil structures for the SEM technology.



  18. honeyvegan April 4, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    What do compostable super-capacitors that charge quickly and release energy over time like a battery have in common with transparent photovoltaic cells that can cover over windows to capture both direct and ambient light while passively heating or cooling an interior? Graphene has a lot of potential in both structural and automotive design. What are your plans for graphene?

  19. blumers April 4, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Has there been consideration when designing a CMU building to incorporate the latest technology in the block, including-carbon cure, a process that permanently absorbs waste CO2 into precast concrete, creating an innovative green building material and giving producers a clear competitive advantage. Or using TioCem® which is a premium cement, which reduces the level of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by means of an integrated photocatalyst?

  20. Lyndon April 4, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Now that autonomous, driver-less cars are legal in some states (incl. CA), how might that technology parallel in architecture? Any conceptual thoughts on how cars and buildings might ‘talk’ to each other?

  21. User1 April 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    House design ensures houses are generally easy to use and maintain and just about evry coponent and tool in a house has been subject to innovation. So, considering how totally disabling a tyre pucture can be, why have car jacks remined almost unchanged and still prove to be frustratingly hard to use and why has user wheel changing remained subject to no innovation at all?

  22. gbreisch April 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    The need to have email that I could submit suggestions. I have some ideas that will definitely help in future designs. I am a retired engineer with experience in solar and have been designing and building PlugInPlay solar panel systems. I have been monitoring world development of electric cars including the recent Chinese building and testing of a car that will go 1000 miles on a single charge and take less than 15 minutes to charge its supercapacitor batteries and go from 0 – 60 in 2.9 seconds. They maybe using 4D printing to build them too. 3D with robotics = 4D. America, lets get with it now!!! Contact me via where all my contact information is available.

  23. AmyLue April 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    My Grandson said he needed a sun visor. Since he sits in the back seat. He said he would make one when he grew up. He says he needs a craft pocket and drink holder and a way for the sun to not be in his eyes. He is 6 so it may take a while. He likes to write and keeps very active while riding. We don’t do movies in the car.

  24. Yannick Read April 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Given the corrosive effect of current car culture on communities in terms of road safety, pollution and social division, and city planning that is for the most part entirely beholden to the needs of drivers, are architects and automotive designers best placed to help improve matters?

  25. NotJustAnotherNumber April 4, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I’d like to ask, how big is the influnce of corporations, lobbiests and other pro-profit special interests, and how can capitalism and true sustainability coexist?

  26. YBGreen (Yasmin) April 4, 2013 at 11:43 am

    As a small business owner, what advice would you give for designer that wants to be a designer that happens to be green. I am sandwiched between 99% of my customers that buy to support the message and wanting opportunities that put my business in front of the masses. These mass opportunities tend to judge first then ponder about the message after. I hope this makes sense. Why am I experiencing this “choice” to appeal to mainstream retailers? Thank you.

  27. lorizimmer April 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    How can we coerce sustainable architecture fans or electric car enthusiasts to realize that they are one in the same?

  28. jdioffa April 3, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Buildings are constructed to be permanent, and by comparison cars are (with intent) meant to last for only a few years before they are traded in for a new model. What is Ford doing to address this ingrained, largely American, consumer habit of pursuing “the next best thing” which is clearly not sustainable? (particularly when you consider the amount of energy and rare earth materials that go into producing a single car)

  29. Lidija Grozdanic April 3, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Which specific design techniques are used by both architects and car designers?

  30. Tafline Laylin April 3, 2013 at 10:36 am

    I think that cross-disciplinary collaboration is absolutely crucial to coming up with sustainable ideas for the future. I’d be very curious to know how materials that are used for cars can be used in buildings too – particularly any that are suited to deflecting heat gain?

  31. Yuka Yoneda April 3, 2013 at 10:20 am

    What kinds of solutions are being developed that allow cars and buildings or homes to work together to save or share energy?

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