GWWO, Inc./Architects is pleased to announce that a Senior Associate of our firm, Chris Elcock, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP has been appointed to serve as a member of Governor Martin O’Malley’s Coast Smart Council.
The Council, just recently established on June 1, 2014 in the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is committed to establishing criteria for the siting and design of new, reconstructed or rehabilitated State structures that are located within Maryland’s coastal areas. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources estimates that there are about 1,000 existing state-owned facilities within the mapped 100year flood zone and about 450 facilities within areas likely to be impacted by sea-level rise over the next 100 years. Given the changing climate, it has become increasingly important that State agencies incorporate the recommended “coast smart” guidelines into all appropriate architecture, engineering, construction, and design manuals to avoid any future damage. It is the Council’s goal to protect Maryland’s people, property, natural resources, and public investments from the climate’s worsening conditions. The Council plans to meet four to six times between now and June 30, 2015 to establish these crucial standards. By July 1, 2015, any State capital project that involves construction or reconstruction will have to comply with the established standards.
Chris was nominated by Jordan Loran, Director of Engineering and Construction for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, as a result of his role as project manager for the new GWWO designed Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center. The project was in the construction documents phase when the Department of Natural Resources wanted to demonstrate leadership in design for projects that were under threat of sea level rise, requiring Chris and his team to re-evaluate the design. Chris “sought to exceed the guidelines by raising essential structures far beyond the established 100-yr flood elevation and providing the curbs to prevent the exterior materials from coming into contact with the grade level.”
Chris has an 18-year career dedicated to environmentally sensitive design projects in Maryland and beyond. He has garnered a significant background in the management and design of park, exhibit, cultural and educational projects, many of which are LEED certified – a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class sustainable building strategies and practices.
Chris humbly accepts the nomination and is delighted that his experience from one specific project will go on to benefit the work and development of many future projects. He is looking forward to serving on the committee and is excited to work with the other members to establish the “coast smart” guidelines that will ultimately help the State make safe and fiscally wise capital investments in the future.