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20CE - Building Biology- 7 Keys to Health and Resilience

08 May 2014 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

1.5 ConEd Learning Hours

This session is also offered on Wednesday, May 07, 2014 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Course Outline

Our Heritage Buildings exist because they are resilient. There is a direct correlation between the resiliency of a building, its longevity, the health and well-being of its occupants, and long-term ecological performance. Has the “belt and suspenders” approach of current green building, mistaken redundancy for resiliency? This session examines the alternatives.

When the "Working Group on Healthy Building and Living" (1969 Translated from German) formed a multidisciplinary group to probe what made people healthy in the built environment they discovered seven factors inherent in pre-petrochemical buildings.  These factors were lacking in the Post WWII buildings that were causing ill-health. This formed much of the basis of what we now call Building Biology, a science that studies the health of occupants within buildings.

My experience as an architect in creating healthy environments for the well and the chemically sensitive has lead me to work with a variety of alternatives to conventional stick frame construction that follow the principles of Building Biology.

This lecture will explore the seven factors for resilient buildings that support health, ecology and building longevity and provide examples of alternatives to conventional construction.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about the Building Biology approach to human health, building longevity and ecology
  2. Explore the essential paradigmatic differences between Building Biology and Green Building
  3. Learn about the seven common denominators found in pre-petrochemical era buildings which promote building longevity and the health and well-being of occupants.
  4. Learn how these seven factors can be applied to contemporary buildings through case-studies examples


Paula Baker-Laporte FAIA graduated from the University of Toronto, School of Architecture in 1978 and from The International Institute of Bau-Biologie and Ecology in 1995. In 2007, she was honored with investiture into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. She headed her award-winning architectural practice based in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1986-2009  She is currently the president of EcoNest Architecture Inc. based in Ashland Oregon. Since 1992, Paula has dedicated her practice to the precepts of environmentally sound and health enhancing architecture. She was selected as one of our nation’s top 10 green architects by Natural Home Magazine July/August 2005 edition. She has developed a unique specialty in alternative construction for health and is a practicing architect as well as a consultant on the health aspects of building throughout North America, and in Central America, Switzerland, Singapore and Israel. 

Paula has lectured, taught, and published extensively on the topic of healthy and ecological design. She is currently developing and teaching courses for the International Institute of Bau-biologie and Ecology along with her teaching partner Stephen Collette. She is the primary author of Prescriptions for a Healthy House, 1st,-3rd edition, New Society Publishers1998- 2008 and co-author with husband Robert Laporte, of EcoNest: Creating Sustainable Sanctuaries of Clay, Straw and Timber, published by Gibbs Smith, 2005.  Her new book on Light Straw Clay construction is scheduled to be published in 2014. She is a contributing author to several other books and periodicals.