Pliny Fisk and Gail Vittori are the principals of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems and are multi-decade leaders in sustainability and ecological thinking. The basis of their global practice is to understand how systems work and seek to improve them by taking lessons from nature and thinking through complete lifecycles of people, products and resources.
The Center describes itself as a “non-profit education, research, and demonstration organization specializing in life cycle planning and design” and always emphasizes the human as a participant in lifecycle systems.
Pliny and Gail’s process begins with context. Understanding the field in which a particular activity is ongoing, and reaching outwards to fully understand its inputs, outputs, and the linkages between. They have advised companies, governments at all scales, non-profits and universities – anyone who’s interested in ecological progress.
The Center has also always been actively involved in materials research, seeking out alternative ways in which to live and build. Most of the materials with which we currently build are carbon-intensive and at some level, dependent on a petroleum-based infrastructure. Pliny and Gail’s research seeks out alternative ‘low-impact’ materials that can be a part of a carbon-neutral future, and independent of a petroleum infrastructure.
We encourage you to visit the links below for a full grasp of their many contributions, but among the two’s many firsts are:
The first GIS enabled life cycle assessment model for material flow in the U.S., allowing users to quantify the environmental effects of human activity at a national scale.
The Austin Green building Program – a first of its kind city-wide initiative to take a major metropolitan area “green.”
Above all, their work is really about thinking differently; they seek to help the rest of us see human activity in a global, ecological context.
We had an opportunity to speak with Pliny and Gail earlier in the year at a special live episode of Social Design Insights, where they shared with us and the audience some of their strategies for global change.