The Five Thousand Pound Life: The Energy Issue


A symposium on energy and architecture organized by The Architectural League of New York and the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP)

4.0 AIA and New York State CEUs

Energy is power. Even minor disruptions in the discovery, treatment, distribution, or consumption of energy can produce major disruptions in social, political, economic, environmental, and cultural structures. Energy is a lever unlike any other, and those who have access and influence to this lever closely guard it.

The Five Thousand Pound Life: The Energy Issue is an afternoon symposium in which architects will lead discussions on the energy issue with the investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, policy experts, journalists, and filmmakers closest to the power of energy. Jeremy Leggett, author of The Energy of Nations: Risk Blindness and the Road to Renaissance, will deliver a keynote address on the systemic risks he sees the fossil fuel industry posing to our environmental and economic future: risks of the intensification of climate change; a bubble in capital markets; an overvaluation of the promise of shale oil and gas; and the impact of misplaced complacency about the long-term balance of supply and demand in energy markets.

The Five Thousand Pound Life (5KL) is an initiative of The Architectural League on new ways of thinking, talking, and acting on architecture, climate change, and our economic future.

The Energy Issue is a GSAPP initiative to make energy a cultural issue, launched in partnership with Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®.


Jeremy Leggett is the chairman of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, whose identification and analysis of the “Carbon Bubble” in 2012 changed the conversation around investment and regulation in the energy industry. As a former geologist, whose research on shale was funded by both BP and Shell, he is a recognized expert on fossil fuel reserves, and has authored several books on fossil-fuel dependency, including Half Gone, Carbon War and most recently The Energy of Nations. At the 2013 Solar Industry Awards, he won the Outstanding Individual Award.

He is also founder and chairman of Solarcentury, an international solar solutions company, and SolarAid, an African solar lighting charity. An Entrepreneur of the Year at the New Energy Awards and a CNN Principal Voice, Jeremy convened the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security and is a founding director of the world’s first private equity fund for renewable energy, Bank Sarasin’s New Energies Invest, where he is a non-executive board member.

Michelle Addington is a Professor at the Yale School of Architecture and Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She is educated as both an architect and engineer and her teaching and research explore energy systems, advanced materials and new technologies. Building on her dissertation research on the discrete control of boundary layer heat transfer using micro-machines, she has extended her work to defining the strategic relationships between the differing scales of energy phenomena and the possible actions from the domain of building construction. Her articles and chapters on energy, system design, HVAC, lighting and advanced materials have appeared in several journals, books and reference volumes, and she co-authored Smart Materials and Technologies for the Architecture and Design Professions.

Rachel Boynton is the Producer and Director of the feature-length documentary film Big Men, which follows a small group of American explorers at Dallas-based oil company Kosmos Energy. Between 2007 and 2011, with unprecedented, independent access, Big Men’s two-person crew filmed inside the oil company as Kosmos and its partners discovered and developed the first commercial oil field in Ghana’s history. Simultaneously the crew filmed in the swamps of Nigeria’s Niger Delta, following the exploits of a militant gang to reveal another side of the economy of oil: people trying to profit in any way possible, because they’ve given up on waiting for the money to trickle down.

Rachel also produced and directed Our Brand Is Crisis, winner of the International Documentary Association’s Best Feature Documentary Award.

William Braham is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as Chair from 2008 to 2011 and is currently Director of the Master of Environmental Building Design and Director of the TC Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies. He teaches graduate courses on ecology, technology, and design. At the Chan Center, his most recent projects have been the Sustainability Plan, Carbon Footprint, and Carbon Reduction Action Plan for the University of Pennsylvania.

As a contribution to the DOE Energy-Efficient Building HUB, he has organized a series of symposia on Architecture and Energy. Which is sponsored by also published Rethinking Technology: A Reader in Architectural Theory and Architecture and Energy: Performance and Style.

Marshall Cox is the Founder and CEO of Radiator Labs, a Brooklyn-based company which enhances the climate control, operational efficiency, and safety of old cast-iron radiators. He is an alumnus of InSITE, an organization that helps early-stage start up companies refine their venture capital pitch presentations. Through InSITE, Marshall has access to mentors and interested potential investors ranging from successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, and retired business managers in the greater New York area. He holds six U.S. patents and has published eight peer-reviewed papers on semiconductor devices, processing, and inorganic synthetic chemistry.

Ed Crooks is the US Industry and Energy Editor at the Financial Times, where he also writes the Energy Source blog.

Rosalie Genevro is the Executive Director of The Architectural League of New York.

Kate Gordon is Vice President and Director of the Climate and Energy Program at Next Generation. She is also the Executive Director of Risky Business – a joint initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Office of Hank Paulson, and Next Generation – which looks to assess the economic risks of climate change in the United States. Ms. Gordon is a nationally recognized expert on the intersection of clean energy and economic development, most recently as Vice President for Energy and Environment at the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington D.C., and before that as Co-Director of the Apollo Alliance. She has worked on a variety of economic development and social justice issues for more than 15 years and is regarded both inside and outside Washington as a leader in the national “green jobs” movement.

Carola Hein is a Professor in the Growth and Structure of Cities Department at Bryn Mawr College. She has published widely on topics in contemporary and historical architectural and urban planning—notably in Europe and Japan. Among other major grants, she received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for her ongoing project “The Global Architecture of Oil.” Her current interests lie in the international exchange of architectural and planning ideas, focusing on global economic networks and their spatial impact on port cities and landscapes of oil. She contributed “Between Oil and Water: The Logistical Petroleumscape” to The Petropolis of Tomorrow and “Global Landscapes of Oil” to New Geographies 02: Landscapes of Energy.

Adrian Lahoud is leading the Master of Architecture (Urban Design) program at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. He was Director of the Master of Arts program at the Centre for Research Architecture Goldsmiths, and has taught at the University of Technology Sydney and the Architectural Association in London. With Bruno Latour, Lorraine Daston, and Paul N. Edwards, he forms part of the organizing committee for Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s forthcoming Anthropocene Curriculum.

Deirdre Lord is a Co-Founder of The Megawatt Hour, a Manhattan-based subscription service that helps bring transparency and clarity to energy markets. Prior to starting The Megawatt Hour, Deirdre was a Co-Founder of Juice Energy and was on the management team at Constellation New Energy. Read more about Deirdre and The Megawatt Hour in The New York Times‘ “She Owns It” section of the small business blog.

Connell McGill is Co-Founder and CEO of Enertiv, a Manhattan-based company that turns real-time energy data into actionable insights for commercial and institutional buildings. Enertiv designs and manufactures easy-to-install energy monitoring devices that work with their advanced energy management software to provide informed recommendations on reducing consumption.

Mark Wigley is the Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. He has written extensively on the theory and practice of architecture and is the author of Constant’s New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire (1998); White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture (1995); and The Architecture of Deconstruction: Derrida’s Haunt (1993). He co-edited The Activist Drawing: Retracing Situationalist Architectures from Constant’s New Babylon to Beyond (2001). Wigley has served as curator for widely attended exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Drawing Center, New York; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal; and Witte de With Museum, Rotterdam.

Time & Place
Saturday, May 10, 2014
2:00 – 6:30 p.m.
The Times Center
242 West 41st Street
New York
This event is free and open to all. RSVP required to
The Five Thousand Pound Life is an initiative of The Architectural League of New York on new ways of thinking, talking, and acting on architecture, climate change, and our economic future. It is supported, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works. This project is also supported by the J. Clawson Mills Fund of The Architectural League.

Architectural League programs are also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


The Energy Issue is a GSAPP initiative to make energy a cultural issue, launched in partnership with Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®.