About · The C3 Living Design Project

C3LD | An informal global perspective emerging from the worldwide movement intersecting ecology, society, economics, and inclusion.

A Transformation towards the Profound Beauty of All Life

Poiètics · Ecology · Community · Vision ·

The C3 Living Design Project (C3LD) celebrates an informal, fresh narrative emerging from the worldwide movement intersecting ecology, society, economics, and inclusion. The project uses a blend of thinking styles – systems, pattern, integrative, and reductive to synthesize inspired ideas from around the world through the InSite and expertise of professionals, students, and academics. The intent is to shape a world characterized by the perspectives of Poiètics, Ecology, Vision, and Community. This goal requires a profound transformation of thinking, perspective, and society as we know it today. You can delve deeper into our Living Design Method and Approach here.

Our project aims to generate and weave together the available knowledge of Living Design into a unified, compelling, and actionable narrative. This story integrates living history, our present condition, and an envisioned future. It is an emergent narrative actionably synthesizing a wide array of cultures, people, and life on planet Earth. And yes, we are very aware that it is an ambitious endeavor. But it is an endeavor that is not an option if there is to be hope for a vital future filled with Life.

The concepts and ideas encapsulated in this virtual project are woven from the contributions of individuals, organizations, institutions and life around the globe and the universe. While some ideas and insights are pioneering and innovative, others draw from the wisdom of antiquity, with many striking a balance between the two extremes.

This rich tapestry of inspiration comes to Life through the invaluable contributions of students and professionals affiliated with various organizations, such as the American Institute of Architects Minnesota Committee on the Environment (AIA MN COTE), USGBC, Perkins+Will, The University of Minnesota College of Design, The Minneapolis College of Art+Design (MCAD), and The Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS) and many others.

The History of C3 Living Design

The C3 Living Design Project was informally launched on July 25, 2009, as a vision of architect, urban planner, and design theorist Douglas Pierce, AIA, Assoc. ASHRAE, LEED Fellow, and RELi AP. The genesis was an AIA Minnesota Committe on the Environment (COTE) workshop led by Doug and illustrator M. Deborah Pierce to develop an innovative, multi-disciplinary process for advancing sustainable design. The methodology drew inspiration from Doug’s role as a Sub-committee Chair in developing the ANSI V1.0 Whole Systems Integrated Process Guideline and contributor to the British Columbia Integrated Design Roadmap.

Initially named “Sustainable Integrated Design and Development,” the design approach was rebranded by Doug, working with AIA Minnesota COTE members in 2011. After considering various alternatives, “Living Design” and the “Living Design Approach” emerged as the preferred titles. On November 8, 2013 the C3 Living Design Project (C3LD) evolved into a more formal stage with the launch of its website. Curated and developed by Doug Pierce and M. Deborah Pierce, the website is a hub for advancing the project’s vision. The site hosts news and social media feeds that inform Living Design, the RELi Resilient Design Guideline third-party rating system, and the University of Minnesota College of Design Masters Level Course in “Sustainable Design Theory and Practice.”

Doug acted as the Principle Investigator for the RELi Resilient Design Standard in 2014. The Living Design framework developed through C3LD was included by reference as part of RELi, making it part of a democratically developed design standard recognizable by government entities worldwide. In 2018, Doug developed and presented Living Design’s academic equivalent, “Transmodern Design,” at the Symposium on Resilient Design hosted by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Doug represented the University of Minnesota at the seminar. The work flowed from his long-standing adjunct facility position at the University, synthesizing over 12 years of academic research on Living Design starting in 2006.

In 2019, Doug’s academic work on Transmodern Design / Living Design and the 2014 C3 Living Design work referenced by RELi were formally adopted by Perkins&Will under his guidance as the firm’s leading sustainable design theorist. As a result of this work, Perkins&Will was the only architecture and design firm named a “Brand That Matters” by Fast Company in 2021,  having an extraordinary “impact on business and culture.”

The C3 Living Design Project website started “renovation” work in late 2022, with work expected to complete in late 2024. A partially renovated website replaced the original November 2013 site in August 2023. Project renovations include technical and academic advancements starting in 2013 and 2018, respectively. Work will continue into the future.

We built our site in 2013, and the world has changed. It’s time for a resilient bounce. Renovating our website’s Digital Machinery and the Living Design Vision + Theory it contains will progress throughout 2023 and 2024.

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