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  • Writer's pictureMolly Jones

The Living Building Challenge with The Joinery

Intentional and sustainable building should become the new normal.

Regardless of the size or scope of the project, our mission at Jones Design Studio is to create an impact by building beautifully. We want to improve lives and heal communities while being good stewards of the environment. We do that by building beautifully and bringing buildings to life.

What does it mean to “build beautifully”? We recently discovered what exact thing while working on a sustainable building project called The Joinery.

The Joinery: A Living Building project

The Joinery is a shining example of what is possible when we build beautifully. Nathan Pickard wanted his new residence to go beyond sustainability, restoring the neighborhood and giving back to the community. Nathan wanted this project to be an extension of their passion for urban agriculture, creating community gardens in the middle of food deserts.

What is the Living Building Challenge?

We asked Nathan to consider using an aspirational rating system called the Living Building Challenge, the most rigorous system in the world today. The Living Building Challenge places imperatives on project teams and owners across several building areas, including sustainable design.

These imperatives include:

  • How a building addresses the culture of a place?

  • How it meets social equity norms and goes beyond them to create a more socially equitable future.

  • How the building restores the natural flows that existed on the site before the building did.

The Living Building Challenge requires us to build beautifully

Using the Living Building Challenge requires a fundamentally different approach to building. It requires you to build beautifully. To not just create an aesthetically beautiful building but to be mindful every step of the way. Building beautifully involved intentional decision-making that comes from asking three fundamental questions:

  1. Why am I building?

  2. What am I building?

  3. How will I choose to build?

When you continually ask and answer those three questions, you begin to build beautifully. The process is beautiful, and the result is beautiful.

We never shy away from a challenge and have mindfully done our work to create a truly sustainable, beautifully built building. With The Joinery project, we leaped and decided to register Oklahoma’s first project seeking the Living Building Challenge certification. With less than two dozen living buildings in the world today, we discovered the word “challenge” was intentional.

Are you up to the challenge?

We believe that the building-beautifully approach should become our new normal. We seek new ways to build a sustainable future for ourselves, our neighbors, and the environment. It requires that we ask and answer these questions:

  • Why am I building?

  • What am I building?

  • How will I choose to build?

No matter the size or scope of the project, let’s approach it with the desire to build beautifully.

Have a project that could use some positive change? We’d love to hear from you.


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