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This program is the fourth in the Materials Matter series of five continuing education sessions. Click here to return to the full series overview.

Just Do It: Strategies for Projects

Transforming firm culture, material reuse in Minnesota, project team perspectives and case studies

Session 4 presents frameworks for integrating knowledge of environmental and human health impacts from material substances into projects and studios. It explores strategies at play when materials decisions are driven by clients, rating-systems, firms, and even individual initiative. Case studies share lessons learned from on the ground experiences, and speakers candidly discuss the different perspectives and motivators of project team members.   

Date and time

Wednesday, May 5, 2021
10:00 am to 3:00 pm – break from 12 to 1:00

Continuing education

4.0 HSW LU Hours
4.0 GBCI credits applied for

Learning objectives

  1. Summarize project case studies which used healthy, sustainable materials and describe the challenges and opportunities of client-driven and architect-driven approaches. 
  2. Explain the different perspectives, pressures, and responsibilities of project team members related to materials transparency.
  3. Construct strategies for applying a materials matter approach to projects by understanding motivators for different project team members.
  4. Identify strategies at the individual level to constructively promote awareness of healthy materials selection among product representatives and colleagues.


Richard Graves, AIA
Richard Graves is the Director of the Center for Sustainable Building Research and an associate professor in the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. From 2012 to 2014, he was the Executive Director of the International Living Future Institute, leading the operations and strategic efforts around all of the Institute’s signature programs. His research focuses on regenerative design as a fundamentally new approach that must be required of architecture across scales (from the building to the neighborhood to the city) to achieve sustainable and resilient urban development in a dynamic world.

Rhys Whyte MacPherson
Rhys Whyte MacPherson is a senior associate at MSR. With a deep focus and commitment to human centered design with sustainability at his core, Rhys has touched a broad range of projects, including libraries, residential, cultural facilities, spaces for nonprofit organizations, and affordable housing.  He has a deep interest in data driven design, which focuses on the art and science of design along with a passion for exploring the balance between equity distribution within the affordable housing industry and critical thinking. His work has received multiple design awards, including an Urban Land Institute (ULI) Jack Kemp Excellence Award and has been a  guest lecturer at numerous national and international conferences. 

Russell Philstrom, AIA
Russell Philstrom is a senior associate at Perkins and Will. As a multidisciplinary project architect, Russell specializes in high-performance building design, analytics, and advocacy. A member of Perkins and Will’s Living Design Leadership Council, he champions local and national sustainability and pro bono initiatives for the North Central region.  Russell is the firmwide program director for tracking project sustainability metrics related to the firms 2030 Commitment as well as its global operational carbon footprint.


Contact Deanna Christiansen, Continuing Education Director

Click here to return to the full series overview.