Big & Green


Pure + Applied & James Hicks

Practice Area


David Gissen, Curator National Building Museum

Project Vision

Big & Green: Towards Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century

Pure + Applied & James Hicks created an exhibition featuring design strategies in the environmental movement of architecture since the 1960s. The emphasis is on large-scale structures (from Conde Nast skyscraper in NYC to Eastgate building in Zimbabwe) with an international scope. The framework for discussion of the 50 projects comes from the five “green” categories: energy; light and air; greenery, water, and waste; construction; and urbanism.

The exhibition design presents the important message of sustainability in the built environment. It walks the viewer through a display of 50 projects that lessen energy consumption and waste production using real-world technology and economics. The kiosks also punctuate each of the 5 sections and use videos and stats to reach all viewers. The exhibition is intended to present the facts about the relationship of buildings to the earth’s environment. This exhibition allowed both the curator and the institution to advocate more sustainable architecture.

Project Details
An appalling quantity of materials are used and thrown away after the dismantling of temporary exhibitions. This design reflects the subject of the show: sustainable design at a large scale. The designers worked hard to research and implement materials that can be recycled and reused. Graphic images are printed on Tyvek instead of FoamCore, and materials such as silk, cardboard, tubes and resusable hardware are used instead of the normal mix of glued, laminated, and permanently assembled materials. The design demonstrates the principles behind the show in a way that is at once obvious, playful, and elegant.
Juror 1
Design Team

Pure + Applied (Paul Carlos and Urshula Barbour) and James Hicks

Design Firm

Pure + Applied & James Hicks


National Building Museum staff, Visual Print Solutions, Inc.