The Architecture of Sim Van der Ryn

Sim Van der Ryn is a world leader in the field of sustainable architecture. In his work, Sim shows us that buildings are not objects but organisms, and cities are not machines but complex ecosystems. Sim came to see the shifting patterns in nature and how these patterns profoundly affect how people live and work in the structures we build and he explores how architecture has created physical and mental barriers that separate people from the natural world, and how to recover the soul of architecture and reconnect with our natural surroundings.

Appointed California State Architect by then-Governor Jerry Brown, Van der Ryn introduced the nation's first energy-efficient government building projects. His vision heralded a Golden Age of ecologically sensitive design and resulted in the adoption of strict energy standards and disability access standards for all state buildings and parks. Van der Ryn has helped inspire architects to see the myriad ways they can apply physical and social ecology to architecture and environmental design.

Sim Van der Ryn is the president of Van der Ryn Architects, a northern California firm known worldwide for its work in sustainable architecture. He taught architecture and design at the University of California, Berkeley for more than thirty years, inspiring a new generation to create buildings and communities that are sensitive to place, climate, and the flow of human interactions. He is the author of six groundbreaking books about planning and design, including Sustainable Communities and Ecological Design. He lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area.


Sample Projects