J500 Media and the Environment

About Me: Alejandro Ogata by alejandrooj840
October 6, 2008, 9:13 am
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: ,

My name is Alejandro Ogata, but all of my friends call me Alex.  I was born in Lima, Peru and moved to the United States after graduating high school to study architecture at the University of Kansas.  I am currently a LEED AP*  architect working at HNTB Architecture in Kansas City, MO and a part time student at KU pursuing a Masters in architectural management.

            I have lived in Kansas City for almost 10 years and have grown quite enamored with it.  Some of my interests include teaching (I am a mentor at Wyandotte HS), cycling, tennis, oil painting, and visiting new restaurants and bars.

            My interest in this class is two-fold.  First, I am what you would call a “moderate green”.  This means I believe in a way of living that is sensible and a compromise between the requirements of modern life and a need to maintain a balance in the environment.  For example, I live close to work and bike or try to maintain my driving to within a 50-block radius (the trip to Edward’s campus is one of the longest ones I will be doing).  However, I do plan to keep my car, and am not too keen on wearing hemp or joining PETA.

            I am also interested in this class because I have seen the need to be able to speak effectively about sustainable issues.  Sustainability in architecture is a movement that still carries some of the connotations from the 1960’s and 70’s.  Entities like the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) have developed a communication strategy which notably distances itself from the more esoteric notions of green building, opting instead for a quantifiable points system which is the base of the LEED initiative.  Yet, I think that a holistic message for green design is still far away as LEED neglects the political and social issues of sustainability.         


*Leadership in energy and environmental design accredited professional


11 Comments so far
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Dare I ask about your picture?

Comment by mindeeforman

Hello Alex. I love your comment about being a moderate greenie. I too believe much like you but I admit, have faltered in my efforts. I’m hoping this class pushes me to go even more green. Your comment strikes a cord with me because it is difficult to go completely green when, a)it costs a lot (i.e. a energy efficient washer and dryer) b) us moms are doing well just to wake up each morning and c) well… I don’t know what c is but I’m sure I’ll think of something later. See you on Friday.

Comment by rebeccaly


You may have seen the article in today’s Kansas City Star regarding retrofitting of older buildings in Kansas City. (“Historic Preservation Goes Green” by Kevin Collison.)

Crown Center, where I work, doesn’t present quite the retrofitting challenge that most of the buildings presented in the Star article do. But it’s still very interesting to discuss the issue with our architects and engineers.

As much as I’d like to be idealistic and say, “Retrofitting is all about doing the right thing for the environment,” I think the most important section of today’s article was:

“It’s not just about preserving and retrofitting historic structures. Moe (Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation) said his organization is working to convince federal officials to offer incentives for anyone wanting to make an older building more energy efficient.” Framing the issue, as they say.

Moe is speaking Wednesday night at the Central Library.

Chris Ronan

Comment by chrisr11

Thanks Chris,
I did see Kevin’s article. The office I work for, HNTB, was part of both of the projects mentioned (Union Station and the Central Library). As a matter of fact, the Downtown Library was one of my first projects as an architect here in Kansas City. From my perspective the article makes some good points but was one dimensional. Furthermore, some most important points are not emphasized enough (Not building is the “greenest” type of building). As an architect, I can tell you that renovation, expansion and retrofitting of buildings is one of the most complex aspects of our practice. Many blunders lie hidden within the walls of old structures. A fun anecdote involving the First National Bank (now Central Library) is that we found a secret stash of licquor inside a hidden compartment; belonging possibly to bank directors during the era of prohibition.

Comment by alejandrooj840

Alex, Your experience and insights will be invaluable. I, too, believe that our biggest challenge is telling effective stories about sustainability. This class will provide you with tools to accomplish that. And while I will not be encouraging anyone to go greener, I do think accruing additional information often inspires that progression.

Comment by j500


I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comparing notes on the green movement, sustainable design, and the like from the architect point of view. I know it is becoming a bigger thing for many of our clients.

See you tomorrow,


Comment by shawng

Alex–I think it’s great having a LEED professional in this class. Like today, you were able to provide some great information to others who were not familiar with the program. I was really impressed with how well you could explain a techy certification program to others!

Comment by susang09

I’m trying to get your address so I can send you and your organization a thank you for the work you did on Highland Street this year. Please forward your information so I can include it in our database. Thanks so much for your teams work this year!!

Comment by Susan Cooke

HNTB’s address is 715 Kirk drive, Kansas city, MO 64105
Glad to help

Comment by alex

I too loved the comment about being a moderate green. I try and ride my bike or walk as much as possible, but sometimes it’s so much easier to hop in my car and drive (especially in this weather!). I’ve also started recycling glass and aluminum. The aluminum is easy, but I’m having trouble with the glass (if anyone knows of any drop off centers besides the Wal-Mart one, please share!). Looking forward to meeting you in class!

Comment by KaylaReg

Recyling glass has been a huge pain in KC since I can remember. However, thanks to the good people at Boulevard we have rippleglass! I have been using the purple bin by the plaza library, but a new one popped up on the Home depot by westport.
If you are looking for more information try http://www.rippleglasskc.com

Comment by alex

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