Tobias Holler, A.I.A., LEED AP Assistant Professor
Department: Architecture School: Architecture and Design Campus: Old Westbury
Member of NYIT Since: 2009
Sustainable building is a key issue for communities around the world and especially on Long Island, where Tobias Holler has envisioned a "better burb" for green living. The architect received praise and a Presidential Technology Award for his use of technology in research and creative expression at NYIT's 2011 Convocation-a result of his design research for the "LIRR Long Island Radically Rezoned" project.
The project was a sustainable design entry for the 2010 "Build a Better Burb" contest sponsored by the Rauch Foundation. Of the contest's 212 submissions from 30 countries, Holler's team ranked among seven winning entries and won the People's Choice Award. The project also won first place in the d3 Natural Systems International Design Competition.
The LIRR project presents a "regenerative vision for a living island" that is water-, waste-, and energy-neutral, thrives on local farming and food delivery, and creates vibrant public spaces in the vacant areas around LIRR stations.
Holler conceived the project with a team that included an NYIT student and an alumna. To facilitate the design process, he developed a custom algorithm combining a graphical algorithm editor (Grasshopper) with 3-D modeling software (Rhinoceros) to visualize ideas and test changes on their outcomes.
In keeping with this vision, Holler recently revised building technology courses offered by the School of Architecture and Design to reflect the latest thinking in sustainability and environmental systems.
"I was happy to see how engaged students were with the new curriculum, and I was particularly pleased about the positive feedback that we received from the visiting team during our recent NAAB reaccreditation," Holler says.
A registered architect in his native Germany and New York, Holler is the principal of his own design practice in Brooklyn, N.Y. Together with Matthias Altwicker, associate professor of architecture and others, he is currently working on an efficient, affordable prototype for a single-family home that will potentially involve NYIT students in a design-build program similar to the Solar Decathlon.
In 2003, Holler attended Pratt as a Fulbright Scholar. Previously, he was a senior associate at Cook+Fox Architects in New York City. There, he helped design the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, the world's first skyscraper to achieve LEED platinum certification for high-performance buildings.
Holler says he joined NYIT because there are "lots of synergies directly in line with my own teaching and research." These synergies are already inspiring new designs for this academic year.
"In 2011-2012, I am hoping to establish two exciting design-build initiatives with our students," Holler says. "One is a super-green, single-family home on Long Island, and the other is a travel program to Costa Rica to build a recycling station for a small community."