Integrated Architecture named a top sustainable firm


Integrated Architecture has created some notable LEED firsts, including YMCAs, churches and fine arts centers, and earned recognition from Architecture Magazine as one of the nation's most sustainable firms. Courtesy Integrated Architecture

Architecture Magazine recently ranked Integrated Architecture No. 32 on its list of top sustainable firms in the nation. The firm also was ranked 64th overall by the publication.

The firm’s commitment to sustainable practices and its large number of LEED-certified projects earned it the sustainability ranking, while the overall ranking additionally considered the firm’s pro bono work and business and design excellence.

“We were honored to be part of a pretty small and select group, at least from the state, but even more importantly, when you think of all the firms that are practicing in this country — especially in the larger metropolitan areas — to be recognized was really an even bigger honor,” said Mike Corby, the firm’s executive vice president.

Corby, who is a LEED-accredited professional, said the firm has been committed to sustainable design and practices since the mid-1990s. He said company-wide recycling programs, an onsite and staff-maintained vegetable and fruit garden, seminars and lectures on sustainability topics and community-focused electronic recycling days are evidence of the firm’s commitment.

Corby also noted many employees bicycle to work, showing that their commitment extends beyond the office.

In addition, Integrated Architecture has 13 LEED-accredited professionals and has racked up a long list of LEED-certified projects, including several firsts. For example, it designed the nation’s first LEED-certified YMCA, church and fine arts center.

“Not only was it the first LEED-certified Y, but the standards for the Y were influenced by what we did at the (David D. Hunting) Y,” said Corby. “Even though it’s a local thing and a great community treasure, that building and the process that we designed is impacting YMCAs all over the country.”

Corby said the honor also extends to the West Michigan community.

“I think it’s nice to see that West Michigan has always — at least over the last decade or decade and a half — been a leader in sustainability in architecture, sustainable design in architecture. What this does, it’s great for us as a firm … but to me, the bigger thing is it just kind of solidifies how West Michigan is a leader in sustainability. We are part of a larger group of practitioners that really is passionate about it and helping to effect change, not only locally, but also nationally.

“We are looked at as an example. We’ve actually been successful in getting projects from other geographic areas because they see what we are doing here and they come to the area to try to witness or understand how we do it.”

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