Lance Hosey is a well-known leader in the green building movement. He was born in 1964 and passed away in 2021 at the age of 56. With a vision of sustainability in mind, Lance was constantly innovative in advancing the impact of design while also being a praised architect, author, advocate, and public speaker. He claimed that architects and designers have been dismissing sustainability for far too long when they should have been embracing it. 

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Lance Hosey _©Harley Ellis Devereaux

Before I studied it, my impression was that architecture was one of the few professions that encompasses every possible interest—it’s creative and analytical, visual and verbal, intellectual and practical, culturally and socially engaging. Every year, this proves to be truer. Architecture can be an incredibly fulfilling occupation.

– Lance Hosey

Documented as “architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society”, the American architect has received many awards and recognitions. He was described as a “visionary architect” by Forbes in 2021.

About Hosey

Lance Hosey was designated as a LEED Fellow in 2015, making him one of just 30 people in the world to obtain both the accolades – a fellowship from the American Institute of Architects and a fellowship from the United States Green Building Council. He joined HMC Architects in Los Angeles in June 2020 as the firm’s chief impact officer. Hosey formerly worked at Gensler as a design director and co-leader of design resilience, as well as RTKL Associates (now Callison RTKL) and Perkins Eastman as chief sustainability officer. 

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Lance Hosey at TEDCity2.0 _©YouTube

The Shape of Green 

Hosey was not only a professional leader but also a prolific writer – with hundreds of articles and numerous books in his list of publications. His famous book, which is known as The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology and Design (2012) ranked as Amazon’s Number 1 bestseller in the category of sustainable design. The Environmental Building News named it as one of the three dozen books “all designers should read” in 2017. Hosey discusses the relationships between beauty and sustainability in his book.

“I believe that designers have an obligation to create things that are both beautiful and sustainable, but I also believe that we need to stop thinking about those terms as somehow separate.”

– Lance Hosey

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The shape of green_©

The book bridges the gap that frequently arises when addressing how beauty and sustainability can coexist in the things that designers create. Hosey’s strong statements and vital rationale for beauty in design in general, which is all too often overlooked in favor of strict practicality and function are reflected in the book.

Hosey’s Way of Thought

The way of practicing designs depends on the ongoing environmental and social challenges. When it comes to energy efficiency, Hosey feels that the sector of architecture is far from where it needs to be and it is urgent to incorporate performance analysis into fundamental design approaches. However, a more essential transformation is required in terms of the ideals and objectives of architecture. 

Designers need to rediscover historic insights about how design can be customized to local climates and communities to tackle the issues of today. Improving the relevance of our work, on the other hand, is arguably more important than developing new methodologies. Some works of Lance Hosey have been very impactful to the present as well as the future of the world. Such as, about the NASA Ames Research Center at California, the dynamic leader, and senior executive Steve Zornetzer said that “This is the way we’re going to have to build in the future.” 

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NASA AMES RESEARCH CENTER, Mountain View, CA _©César Rubio
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NASA AMES RESEARCH CENTER, Mountain View, CA _©César Rubio

It is a 50,000 square-foot LEED Platinum, net-positive-energy “Sustainability Base,” designed like a space station on Earth, is an office building, a laboratory for developing technologies, and “an evolving model for the future of buildings,” according to NASA.

The Zero Carbon Community in Lagos, Nigeria was described as “A model city for healthy urban living” by the New York Times. The concept of this building developed from the compound connections between climate change and public health. 

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ZERO CARBON COMMUNITY, Lagos, Nigeria _©New York Times

The project has a new approach for addressing the issues of a clean, reliable, and self-sufficient infrastructure for people from all walks of life. The building is designed to use 25-30% less energy than comparable structures in the west, and it will create twice as much energy for the abundant renewables onsite. Within a decade, the additional energy will effectively cancel out the project’s carbon footprint, making it a true zero-carbon development.

Building for Bees 

Prior to his death, Hosey provided a special narration for a short film named “Building for Bees” created by the HMC for the AIA Film Challenge. He was also the mastermind behind the project featured in the film, the Honeybee Discovery Center in Orlando, CA. The goals for this project were net-zero energy, net-zero water, LEED Platinum and the Living Building Challenge.

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Lance Hosey_©
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Lance Hosey_© HMC Architects
Lance Hosey _©

Lance Hosey was a powerful person who was able to bring light to the absolute need of the merge of aesthetics, sustainability, and functionality, who altered the ethos of design and the way designers approach their projects. Hosey tried to clear the gaps and show how there lies a relationship between form and performance. How can buildings best represent the intersections of people, purpose, and place? Can architects focus their shift to make buildings as much about impact as they are about the outlooks? Hosey’s way of thought will certainly have a positive outcome for many years to come.

To know more about the architect, visit


Architecture, National, Obituary, Sustainability. (2021, September 1). Lance Hosey, architect and sustainable design advocate, has died at 56. The Architect’s Newspaper. [Accessed: 25/09/2021].

Baldwin, E. (2020, July 28). “Architects Never Waste a Good Crisis”: HMC’s New Chief Impact Officer on Reframing Design. ArchDaily. [Accessed: 25/09/2021].

IFTV. (2014). Lance Hosey – Why Sustainable Architecture is Beautiful Architecture. [YouTube video]. 

Available at: [Accessed: 25/092021].

Walsh, N. P. (2021, September 6). Tributes paid to design and sustainability champion Lance Hosey, who has died at 56. Archinet. [Accessed: 26/09/2021].


A final year student currently pursuing B.Arch. in Bangladesh. Her passions are intertwined with Art, Travel, Architecture, and Literature. She aspires to travel, learn, evolve with time and thereby bring something to light through journaling her journeys.

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