From an early age, Blake Jackson learned the basics of how buildings come together and how people work together as an apprentice for his father in the construction industry. He took this curiosity and appreciation to architecture schools in the US and UK where his analytical lens was significantly amplified by what is possible – and how environmental stewardship could be leveraged to have a profoundly positive and regenerative impact upon the natural and built environments.
As Director, Sustainability at NORR, Blake leads the firm’s global program to achieve the AIA 2030 Commitment and the Structural Engineering (SE) 2050 Challenge. It’s a tall order, but he believes the alignment of clients, cities and countries adopting the UN Sustainability Development Goals will help to advance the ultimate objective of decarbonization. Over the past 20 years, Blake has been ingrained in change agency, from traditional sustainability (resource conservation, smart planning, density, walkability) to resiliency (mitigating the risks of severe weather due to climate change) to health and well-being (designing to promote physical, emotional, and cognitive optimization) to equity (universal accessibility and beyond). His professional footprint has helped to humanize architecture.
Blake believes that we have a moral obligation to have a tangible impact on the lives of our citizens and the cities that we work in. He takes great care to inform and educate people on the sustainable design value proposition of every project to show the human impact of high-performance buildings over time. He speaks to measurable themes such as air quality, lower toxicity materials, productivity enhancements, and the ability to attract and retain employees – all important factors in the post-pandemic world. On balance, Blake demonstrates the offset of up-front costs with low energy and zero carbon solutions to reduce long-term operating costs. It’s a meaningful equation that is purposeful at every phase of a project, from early planning through construction.
Blake’s passion for sustainability transcends from the office to the classroom. He is a lecturer at the Boston Architectural College, on the Advisory Board of UMASS Dartmouth, and he serves as a Programme Chair for the Healthy Cities Design International congress. Teaching and research help to inspire the next generation of architects, engineers, interior designers, clients and policy makers to create innovative solutions to address the climate crisis.