Susan Schaefer Kliman, PhD, FAIA
Leader. Educator. Innovator.
On a broader scale, I believe that sustainability must occur at the community level. This means that proper urban planning is critical. Sustainable communities must encourage healthy lifestyles by including things such as transit oriented development, adequate consideration for bike paths and pedestrian activities, outdoor recreations facilities, and much more. I have been involved in several community planning efforts, including a new
gateway and downtown plan for the City of Tucson, a re-building/new community design following a destructive wildfire and visioning efforts for neighborhoods and metropolitan areas. My most significant effort was the co-authorship of a successful grant proposal for a Sustainable Design Assessment Team (S/DAT) for the Tucson Metropolitan region through the national organization of the American Institute of Architects. I served as the local co-chair of the planning process, and participated in a half-dozen follow up visioning efforts.
As an architect I have focused my research-based practice on the principles of sustainability and environmentally responsible design to create high performance buildings. My projects have incorporated the use of alternative building materials and/or non-traditional mechanical systems. I have devoted my career to investigating new technologies, and to using old technologies in new ways to improve the thermal performance of the structures I design. The nature of my projects has allowed me to work very closely with mechanical engineers to design buildings whose systems will ensure optimal performance and efficiency. Energy modeling have been a key component in my design process and a basis for working with consulting engineers. Graduate studies also provided me with an in-depth understanding of the impacts of climate, topography, vegetation, hydrology, and geomorphology on structures. I have applied this knowledge to my practice by assisting clients with site selection, and by creating appropriate design responses to the specific project sites.