Joining CBE’s consortium this spring, JLG Architects has won national accolades for both its design portfolio and for its highly supportive work environment, gaining recognition as one of the ‘50 Most Admired Companies’ in America by MSN Money, as one of ‘50 Best Places to Work’ by Inc. magazine, and as ‘2019 Design Firm of the Year’ by ENR Mountain States.
JLG’s aspiration is to “Design for Life” by going beyond the building to focus on individual wellbeing and resilience so people can thrive and organizations can prosper. For the past 31 years, the firm’s 150 employee-owners across twelve offices have redefined community and stakeholder participation. JLG practices on a dozen project types, including civic/government, corporate, sports, housing K-12 and higher education. The firm’s leadership includes Michelle Mongeon Allen, who was elevated to CEO in 2017, and thereby joined a very small cohort of female executives worldwide who are leading a major architecture practice. “At JLG, we have charted a course toward our vision of legacy — making a real difference in the lives of the people and in the places we serve by elevating both outcomes and expectations. We are doubling-down on our commitment to design excellence and are confident that this partnership with CBE will contribute mightily to those efforts.”
JLG continues to invest in local communities, with many activities centered around its program JLGives Back. The firm has taken public its proprietary young professional training program, JLGdna, created to help new graduates thrive. Graduates of JLGdna complete their architecture exams two years earlier than the norm.
CBE’s recent engagement with JLG was initiated by Patrick Thibaudeau, JLG’s first Principal Sustainability Officer. He was an active collaborator with CBE’s research team in his previous position, frequently taking advantage of CBE’s occupant survey tools to document the performance of buildings from the perspective of occupants. Patrick will be a part of the CBE strategic planning team advising research initiatives.
“At JLG we seek to do what has not been done. We do more than merely follow sustainable design certification systems like LEED. We raise the bar by going beyond — advancing comprehensive sustainability by addressing individual experience, positive performance, and financial prosperity,” says Thibaudeau. “We are explorers driven to discover, looking for new insights. We create solutions that meet our clients’ goals while reducing total cost of ownership and designing awe-inspiring, healthy places and experiences that promote wellness and resilience. We go beyond incremental improvement. While others are seeking to achieve zero impact at some future time, we start at zero and seek to give back. We integrate sustainability from the very beginning.”
A well-designed building can be better than no building if it gives back, grows from the land, and conserves the natural majesty of its surroundings. Thibaudeau explains, “We must avoid the ‘syrup syndrome.’ Too often designs are conceived, then sustainability is poured on after the fact, like syrup poured onto a stack of pancakes.”
In addition to Patrick’s ongoing collaboration with CBE, he was an original member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Large Firm Roundtable working toward carbon neutrality by 2030, and his national influence continues today with several leading national organizations such as the USGBC, Living Futures Institute, and the Design Futures Council. His work has been honored with numerous awards, including his previous firm receiving the National Environmental Stewardship Award. He also led efforts that resulted in more than 100 projects achieving third-party certification, such as LEED, B3 or 2030 performance standards. In his role as JLG’s Principal Sustainability Officer, Patrick will lead strategy, exploration and process development that elevates the human experience and achieves positive performance for energy, carbon, water, waste and materials with lower total cost of ownership. “We’re building an idea. One that has powerful transformative impact on the way we live, work, learn and thrive.”