Grain mills seem to be just a remnant of the past, a reminder of the way things used to be done. The cumbersome equipment used to turn wheat berries into flour has been virtually forgotten, until recently. The non-profit organization, Honoré Farm and Mill, based in Marin County, California, worked with Kuth Ranieri Architects to envision the country’s first-ever mobile wheat and grain mill.
As I started strategizing about how to take our firm’s commitment to sustainability and green design to the next level, I came up against a Catch-22 situation. It’s similar to the one architects face when branching out to pursue new building types: you need to demonstrate experience with a particular project type in order to get projects of that type. Only through project participation do we build the specific skills that constitute “experience.”
When people in the building industry think of sustainability, they think of LEED. But LEED is first and foremost a rating system. It was developed to push the industry incrementally toward more environmentally friendly strategies. It doesn’t envision the ideal that we all need to be striving for. What would a truly sustainable building look like?