Interview with Atelier Ten’s Nico Kienzl

Nico is a founding director of Atelier Ten’s New York City office and member of Atelier Ten’s US and international leadership group. He consults on a wide variety of large scale residential, commercial and institutional buildings, as well as on masterplan and renovation work in the United States, Europe, South America and Asia.

Nico specializes in the application of advanced building analysis including facade optimization, daylight and shading analysis, and in the optimization of building systems. Recent work includes, among others, the first LEED Platinum condominium high rise in New York City, the sustainability framework and first two significant buildings for Columbia University’s new Manhattanville Campus, the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Brasilia, the Masterplan and Phase 1 for the Fulbright University Vietnam campus, the new wing for the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the new LEED Platinum-target Comcast Research and Innovation Center tower in Philadelphia.

Nico has held teaching engagements at Harvard GSD, Pratt Institute and Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation with a focus on building systems integration and sustainability. He is a LEED Fellow, and served as an industry representative member on the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Green Building Advisory Committee from 2011-2016. He also serves on the board of Urban Green Council and Storefront for Art and Architecture. Nico holds a Dipl. Ing. in Architecture from the Technical University in Munich, an M.S. in Building Technology from MIT and a DDes from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.

Show Highlights 

  • Nico embraces being both technical and creative as a leader in sustainability in Germany and the US.
  • Essential questions on performance and design that help influence Nico’s career and move the industry forward. 
  • What it is like to work for Atelier Ten and clients who want to push the envelope with environmental design and energy systems to be more “human centric”?
  • Why the LEED Silver and Gold levels have really become a baseline for projects?
  • Nico shares why architects will need to educate themselves with the dynamics of the utility grid.
  • Nico breaks down the plan, obstacles, and shifts for electrifying buildings and decarbonizing our grid.
  • Why building trust and building relationships takes both technical prowess and social skills?

“Trust in a design team is incredibly important because everybody’s taking risks all the time because nobody’s ever done this before (on a highly advanced sustainability project). So the importance of personal relationships and really being aware of that and understanding stakeholders and people I work with on the client side on a deeper level.” 

– Nico Kienzl

(Transcript Available on here and on the GBES website)

Nico Kienzl’s Show Resources and Information

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