Fernando Arias – Nature-Adaptive Design

Fernando Arias is the Director of Sustainability at Clark Construction Group. The firm has been named as one of the greenest contractors in the US, with a tremendous amount of completed LEED projects. In today’s episode, Fernando shares with Charlie Cichetti the story of his colorful childhood that helped shape the sustainability-minded professional that he is now.

A Child of Nature

Colombia-born, Fernando was surrounded by the fertile land of the City of Eternal Spring. Coffee plantations, flower farms, and a variety of butterflies are among his earliest childhood memories prior to his family’s big move to New York.

“I’ve always been immersed and impressed by the abundance of natural and urban ecologies and I learned to respect the natural environment very much.” – Fernando Arias

His first interests involved tinkering with toys and their machineries, eventually leading him to become part of the military as a tech mechanic, but his career track was never a linear path. Over time, he switched gears.

The Greatest Influencer

It was when he moved to San Francisco that he met the person who enabled him to change paths. With his talent in collage and 3D art, Fernando was steered into thinking about taking up architecture classes.

Fernando’s interest in the physics of buildings grew into a fascination with how forces and nature affect the form of buildings. He went abroad and got more immersed in the landscape environment.

Integrating Nature in Design

A few years down the road, he furthered his studies at Columbia University. Fernando came to a deeper understanding of how various factors come into play to meet the green standards of the built environment.

“Thinking about urban systems was not just merely about ways to transportation or energy. It was also about public health and economic drivers in cities and how all of these things work together to prepare cities for challenges.” – Fernando Arias

To hear more about Fernando’s many realizations and the evolution of his career as a LEED specialist, download and listen to the episode!

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