Green Warriors will earn their stripes when this Bainbridge Island school opens.
PICTURE A VENN DIAGRAM, if you will (ideally, in shades of green): One circle represents “innovative education”; the other is “sustainable design.” (Really, if you’re talking about anything Jason F. McLennan does, you might as well just start with “innovative” and/or “sustainable.”)
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Right there in the middle, in that sweet, deep-green wedge of connection, sits the latest outlet for McLennan and his partners at McLennan Design to preach what they practice: The School of Regenerative Design (SoRD).
The so-new-it’s-not-even-open-yet architecture and design school is designed to be both an original, intriguing concept (using design to restore and protect the environment) and, once it’s open, an actual awesome campus, itself regenerated from historic Fort Ward barracks on Bainbridge Island.
Its mascot/graduate: the Green Warrior.
“SoRD’s mission is to transform the practice of architecture, design and related fields through teaching a unique, interdisciplinary and holistic approach so that the built environment can literally become an active part of regenerating the natural environment,” McLennan says. “In everyday terms, regenerative design is about moving away from just doing ‘less bad’ and instead using design to help heal and restore the environment.”
Fundraising for the school is under way now, McLennan says; eventually, SoRD will offer semesterlong immersive courses leading to a Regenerative Design Certificate, along with shorter courses and certificates. Once full accreditation is secured, SoRD will offer two-year master’s degrees in architecture. (Also pending: 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. And: completion of the campus, including studio space, dormitories, a wood workshop and a food-growing Green House.)
Students will intern on real-world projects with McLennan Design, and eventually live on-site so they “can reconnect with the natural world while learning to heal it,” McLennan says. “Our goal is to engage students in the use of design to address some of the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges.”