As one of the founding teams in the league that would become the NFL, the Chicago Bears are steeped in traditions that run deeper than most. The roster of retired Bears jerseys on display in the lobby of the team headquarters is awe-inspiring, the names timeless: Blanda, Butkus, Ditka, Payton, Sayers. The faithful converge on Soldier Field every home Sunday, win or lose, to shiver in the open air as the wind howls off Lake Michigan. Even the stadium itself, until recently a crumbling Greek temple with peeling plaster and questionable plumbing, has been part of the team’s mystique for more than 30 years. In such a franchise, change does not come easy.
For more than three decades, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has been a leading voice for environmental advocacy in the US. When the group decided to open a regional office in Santa Monica, California, they knew it had to be environmentally friendly. The building, named for Robert Redford, actor and long-time environmentalist, would combine cutting-edge technologies and materials with energy-efficient architecture to create a showcase for green-building design and promote environmental activism. The building, extensively remodeled by the NRDC and opened in November 2003, pushes the envelope for environmental design and construction techniques.