Save The Bay! Chesapeake Bay Foundation is awarded prestigious Hanley Award


This year on November 17 at Greenbuild, the Hanley Foundation awarded The Chesapeake Bay Foundation its Hanley Award for Community Service, the most prestigious award to an organization for sustainability in the built environment.

CBF’s award is one of two that was awarded that evening. Additionally, the Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainability went to our friend, Gail Vittori from the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, for her significant contributions to the USGBC, GBCI, Green Guide for Health Care and the Health Product Declaration Collaborative. Congratulations, Gail.

In the presentation of the award and the acceptance by CBF President Will Baker, two CBF/SmithGroupJJR collaborations loomed large. In 2000, CBF occupied the Merrill Environmental Center in Annapolis, Maryland. As the first LEED Platinum building in the world, it was then lauded as the greenest building of its time. This year, CBF occupied the Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Once again, CBF strove for the highest achievement in sustainable design and expects early next year for the building to be certified by the Living Building Challenge as having exceeded that rigorous threshold. In addition, we believe that the Brock Center is the first building under federal clean water regulations that has been permitted to drink its own rainwater – to be water self-sufficient. Will Baker believes that this is now “the greenest building in the world”. And one of the most resilient, as recently witnessed by Resilient Design Institute founder, Alex Wilson.

They say that great buildings require great designers, great programs and, most importantly, great clients. But what makes a great client? There must be a hundred definitions, but we will offer ours.

  • A great client is willing to push the envelope; to go beyond the limitations of conventional practice; to see new possibilities where others see dead ends.
  • A great client is open-minded and willing to take reasonable risk; to understand that if it hasn’t been done before, maybe it’s time.
  • A great client is trusting and values relationships. To innovate, mutual reliance and inter-dependence must be the order of the day.
  • A great client is self-confident and spreads that confidence around creating a culture of assurance and resilience.

Finally, a great client – designer relationship is one of shared values. CBF’s mission says it all, “Save the Bay and keep it saved.” These are people who, like us, imagine the future as it ought to be and believe that they have the capacity to make it happen.

By any definition, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Will Baker, Mary Tod Winchester, Paul Wiley and Christy Everett are great clients. Congratulations to them and all their colleagues for the major recognition of the 2015 Hanley Award for Community Service.

(Co-authored by Russell Perry and Greg Mella; Photo: Will Baker via John Jack Photography)


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