Dr. Naim Jabbour and Sandra Gallick: The Heart of Architecture

Episode #8
November 14, 2023
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In this episode we spark a thought-provoking conversation around the story architecture tells. With guests Dr. Naim Jabbour, associate professor of architecture and sustainable design, and Sandra Gallick, a student in his program, we talk about passive homes, sustainable ideas for existing structures, and Jabbour's dreams for the future of design. Join us for a lively discussion packed with meaning and magnitude.


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00:00:00 Carlos Ramos: Welcome to Tomorrow Makers, where we explore how we live, learn, work, and play now and in the future. I'm Carlos Ramos. 00:00:13 Sumer Beatty: And I'm Sumer Beatty. Today we have Dr. Naim Jabbour from Architecture and Sustainable Design and his student, Sandra Gallick. 00:00:21 Carlos Ramos: So much to learn today. So many quotable moments. 00:00:25 Sumer Beatty: Oh my goodness. Yeah. My thoughts. Exactly. Yeah. And it goes beyond, we talked about architecture and sustainable design, of course, but it goes so far beyond that. I think a lot of what Naim mentioned in here and what Sandra talked about, I think we can all resonate with. 00:00:42 Carlos Ramos: Yeah, I, you know, I think about my, my house and its architecture and it's like, this thing's built in late fifties. So, I mean, it looks like, you know, any other, you know, ranch style home. It's really nondescript. So many things I want to do with it, like, raze it, and then, you know, start from scratch, but like, he gave me some ideas, you know, just in, in talking, like, wait a minute, no, I don't have to, I don't have to go that far. There's just some, some minor things that I could do to, one, make it, you know, more attractive, but, Also to make it more efficient, make it more sustainable, and maybe after a few years put a little change back in my pocket. 00:01:19 Sumer Beatty: Yes, that was really cool. The ROI factor definitely matters. Alright, so let's get to it. Let's hear what they have to say. 00:01:26 Carlos Ramos: Alright. Tomorrow Makers. 00:01:30 Sumer Beatty: Enjoy, Welcome. It's so great to have you both with us today. Thank you so much. Thank you. 00:01:38 Naim Jabbour: Pleasure to be here. 00:01:39 Carlos Ramos: Who do we have today? 00:01:40 Sumer Beatty: We have Dr. Naim Jabbour, architecture and sustainable design professor. Welcome. Good to be here. Thank you. Thanks for being with us. And we have Sandra Gallick, student in that program. 00:01:53 Sandra Gallick: Yes. Thank you. 00:01:54 Naim Jabbour: Thank you for having me. Thank you, Sandra. 00:01:55 Sandra Gallick: Absolutely. 00:01:57 Sumer Beatty: All right. So we'll just, we'll get going. 00:02:00 Sandra Gallick: All right. 00:02:01 Sumer Beatty: Yeah. Okay. So maybe we'll just start at the start at the beginning. I'd love to know how you got into architecture. What is that story? 00:02:09 Naim Jabbour: It's a very unconventional story. I started as a biology major thinking I'm going to go to pre med. That was the path that I, you know, I was dreamt of and I planned. But then I started taking biochem classes and organic chemistry and all the biology that goes with it and I was terrible and I hated it. It just wasn't, there was no passion, there's no drive and I couldn't see the light. So I took a semester off and I thought about what am I going to do with my life and I always love to just sit down and sketch and just take pictures of buildings and just go and explore neighborhoods and a couple of months of thinking and exploring and. The aha moment. Architecture was the path for me. So that's, that's how I started my journey. 00:02:56 Sumer Beatty: Oh, that's amazing. I did not know that. Sandra, did you know that? 00:02:59 Sandra Gallick: I did not know that. 00:03:01 Naim Jabbour: And everybody's really lucky that I did not go into the health field of medicine because I was really, really bad at it. So I gave everybody a big favor by doing that. 00:03:11 Carlos Ramos: Now, was that something you wanted to go in the, in the health profession or, or explore the health field on, on Is this something you thought beforehand or were there external pressures that were pushing you that way? 00:03:22 Naim Jabbour: It's external cultural norms and, you know, expectations that, you grew up in a Lebanese family, you're going to be either a doctor or an engineer. my dad was an engineer. So, I just hated math. So I said, okay, maybe medicine is the path for me. Two years into my college in Lebanon, I was like, this is not going to work. So I, you know, I took the time off and thank God I did. Yeah. 00:03:48 Carlos Ramos: Yeah. And thankfully for us as well. 00:03:50 Sandra Gallick: Yeah, thankfully, we are very lucky to have you Dr. Jabbour. 00:03:53 Sumer Beatty: Likewise. And what does your family think now of your career? 00:03:57 Naim Jabbour: They're really proud and appreciative and, just, seeing me fulfill my dreams, even though it took a very kind of winding, you know, path. They're, they're happy. That's happy. They're happy that I'm happy. 00:04:10 Sumer Beatty: And so I'm also curious, then how did you end up in Pennsylvania? You said you were from Lebanon. 00:04:14 Naim Jabbour: Yeah. So, my dad went to school in Mississippi. Okay. So we always had a U. S. connection and it was always a dream of mine to, to come to the U. S. but, we were in a time of war in Lebanon and, I wanted a way out. Especially after I decided that medicine is not my path. So that semester I took off. I started researching and, kind of brainstorming where is my path, Europe, the U. S. My dad knew a professor in the U. S. and he had family in Altoona and in Jonestown and he spent many of his spring breaks here in PA. So that's how the connection was made. I was able to get my paperwork in order and get my visa and then, before we know it, I was in the U. S. 00:04:57 Sumer Beatty: Regarding sustainable design then, so how did your, how did your interest direct towards the sustainability aspect, or does that just go hand in hand with architecture for you? 00:05:06 Naim Jabbour: It didn't early on. In my schooling, it wasn't really a big focus. And then when I practiced in Houston for eight years, it was, Peripheral on the side. And that was the main reason I actually decided to stop my professional practice and go into academia is that I was seeing things done in a way that doesn't make sense for us, for the planet. So I stopped working after eight years, went back to grad school. focusing on sustainability and that's how my path started, with the whole sustainable design approach. 00:05:37 Sumer Beatty: I have to ask, I stumbled upon your architectural website and, you have a tagline, design like you give a damn. Yeah. So curious what inspired this. I think, I think we have a little bit of a clue, but I would love to hear your take on it. 00:05:51 Naim Jabbour: My approach with everything in life is like, if you're going to do something, just do it like you give a damn or just don't do it. And I, there's a really awesome book called Design like you give it them. It's by the Architecture for Humanity. So the problem is in the architecture field is that we do things just to do things. To get it done and to get a paycheck and move on without the impacts on humanity, on humanism, on us, how we feel, experience, and what kind of footprint we leave behind us. So I tell my students, and the way I live my life, Do it and give a damn about it, and I don't care what the result is, at least you put all, all yourself in it, and that's really where it comes from. Yeah, but it's intriguing when students hear me say that. 00:06:41 Sumer Beatty: Okay, so, they're hearing that in the classroom as well? Okay, good. 00:06:44 Naim Jabbour: They hear it in class and they see it in the project briefs at the end. you know, just give a damn about what you're doing. Otherwise, you're in the wrong field. Yeah, is that part of your rubric? It is part of the rubric. The impact, the experience that you're gonna create, is it really meaningful? Right. 00:07:03 Carlos Ramos: Love to see what the gradations are in that particular rubric criteria. 00:07:07 Naim Jabbour: Most of them are shocked early on, but most of them, they do give a damn. And it's just finding a way to portray that and show that and not be afraid. Do you know how to do it? It's not a big deal. It's just care. That's it. So, and, 00:07:22 Carlos Ramos: and that's it for this week's, Tomorrow Makers. 00:07:26 Sumer Beatty: We've been shut down. We said a swear word. I don't think that counts. No, no. 00:07:29 Carlos Ramos: That, that's a message. 00:07:30 Naim Jabbour: Oh yeah. 00:07:31 Carlos Ramos: Yeah. 00:07:31 Sumer Beatty: Yeah. I don't know. Can we drop these mics? I don't think we should. 00:07:36 Naim Jabbour: It's gotta be, it's gotta be more than what's just on the surface. You know, we gotta, we gotta put more into everything that we do and that an architecture is so critical, creating this experience, that meaningful opportunity for people to enjoy what we're doing with them. And that word, that D word is really critical. 00:07:57 Sumer Beatty: It does punctuate it, doesn't it? 00:07:59 Carlos Ramos: It does. Now, Sandra, you haven't had a specific course with Dr. Jabbour yet, but I know you've participated in some of his lectures. How has that... That ethos been presented and how have you incorporated that into the work you're doing as a student? 00:08:18 Sandra Gallick: I have gotten really good advice from Professor Jabbour What I really like is that when we present him with a question He'll come back with a question that reflects it back in the way And puts it in such a light that we never quite thought of it like that. And so it really, I can't find the word. It's just, it just encompasses. I mean, I know that last semester I was struggling really with, connection space and he said, well, I forget exactly how you put it, but you know, it made me look at my project differently. And I said, Oh, why didn't I think of that? But he always presents it in such a way that, you know, we got to reflect and then look at it in a different light and really inspiring. 00:09:13 Naim Jabbour: Yeah. I mean, I think it's really important to when we're getting, can I ask questions, all faculty, we can definitely give answers and just, you know, solve it for you. But my approach is that if I can. throw it back at you to think a little bit more meaningful and deeper about the question. You're going to come up with an answer that you have a stake in and that is more, you know, connected to your thought process versus me just giving you the answer. I will give you the answer eventually if need be, but I'd rather us kind of brainstorm and go a little bit deeper and kind of philosophically think about "What am I asking here?" Because the answer is there. I've just not seen it yet. And this kind of non traditional way of seeing and solving problems that is sometimes a straight line gets you to where you need to go. Sometimes you have to really go on an unwinding journey to kind of find the solution that is fitting for you. So, you know, I try my best to do that with all my, with all my students. I kind of have this thing known about me that when, when you ask Professor Jabbour a question, he's going to ask you a question back that's going to help you lead. And get an answer, but it's never going to be, here's the answer. 00:10:20 Carlos Ramos: I love that. It puts skin in the game for the education. And it's not just that you're showing up and, you know, being a receptacle for everything that's coming at you. Because, you know, we're really terrible at taking a whole bunch of stuff and assimilating it without doing that process of bringing it back. And I love that you're doing that. 00:10:40 Naim Jabbour: It's a dialogue and we need to be didactic in our practice. Thought process. Mm-Hmm. . And not just, question, answer. Let's move on. No, it's a lot more than that. 00:10:49 Sandra Gallick: I agree. I agree. It brings a nice element of dynamic. 00:10:52 Naim Jabbour: Yeah. So be ready for next semester. 00:10:54 Sandra Gallick: It's gonna be fun. I'm so excited. 00:10:56 Sumer Beatty: Well, I'm starting to appreciate that. The questions I've asked you, you haven't just asked me another question back. , I not, not yet. Oh, well back to the sustainability, topic, I'm just kind of curious, as you're designing homes as an architect or working on remodels or other projects, what are you considering with regard to the, the climate, the environment, and all those aspects that you talked about earlier? 00:11:27 Naim Jabbour: Yeah, I mean, the, the client needs are really critical and they, they determine what and what we can do and the scope of it. But I'm always trying to approach sustainability from a very manageable, approachable way, where it's not always about high tech and, you know, cutting edge technology. It's sometimes just going back to the days we built things. decades or not, or maybe centuries ago, or just use passive architecture where we can use sunlight for heating and daylight, or we can use wind for ventilation and cooling, or we can use proper building materials to create a thermal mass like insulation. So it's not always about high tech and you know, making sure that you have all the tech tools and technology. And sometimes we tend to do this a lot in this day and age, you just, you know, refer to engineering and technology as a solution, even though sometimes nature around us has all the solutions. If you plant a deciduous tree outside of your window. South facing. You're going to get automatic shading in the summertime with zero investment and a beautiful, aesthetically pleasing thing to look at. And in the summer, in some wintertime, it will shed the leaves and let the sun in to heat your, your house. So simple solutions as that, that doesn't really cost you much. that sometimes we overlook. 00:12:48 Sumer Beatty: You had mentioned passive buildings. Can you explain what that is? 00:12:51 Naim Jabbour: So passive buildings are structures that utilize natural systems. to heat the building, to cool the building, to insulate the building and it, minimizes our reliance on active mechanical systems like your typical air conditioning and heating systems. These are buildings that are very well built, they're insulated, they're air, airtight, and they're passive, which means they're using natural systems versus expending energy. And they're awesome to operate, they're comfortable to live in, and they're very affordable and cheap. A is something the Vikings did. It's not a new thing that is doing. This is, we just ignored it. We just ignored it for decades. 00:13:33 Sumer Beatty: So I am just thinking that we are just in Williamsport, PA. Yes. If you walk down the street. Do you live in Williamsport? 00:13:40 Naim Jabbour: I do. 00:13:40 Sumer Beatty: Ok Is that common practice here? 00:13:43 Naim Jabbour: It is not a common practice. It is starting to become more prevalent in the US. This, this whole movement is really It started very strongly in Germany with a passive house, you know, system. And then it started to make its way across, because people recognize that we can build better, more affordable, and make it more equitable for everybody that can live in a more comfortable, sustainable way and not rely on, you know, big engineering systems. 00:14:11 Carlos Ramos: It's really surprising what you can take advantage of despite the landscape that you're in. I'm thinking of several series that I've seen on the major streamers. I'm in the middle of one on Apple Plus right now. I think it's called Home. We'll have to check that and put the link to it. but in one particular episode, they, they took, a barn, which, I think it was a barn or some, some building that is of that, that size, just this, massive stone foundation. But the roof was practically gone, the walls are still standing because I think there was something on the order of, I want to say, 20 some to 30 some inches thick. I mean, your typical home now, I mean, we're, we're what? and you have plenty of these other shows that that that show that and then just how to orient it on the land when you're in construction. But if you're in an existing home, there are still ways to take advantage of all that, right? 00:15:17 Naim Jabbour: Absolutely. You can add insulation. You can upgrade your windows. You can, you can improve your, Those are going to have, you know, mechanical systems, get Energy Star, very energy efficient where they can operate, much more efficiently and comfortably for you. So, and you, we see this passive house trend really taking shape in the U S tremendously. And doesn't matter what the climate is. You can be in the middle of Vermont and, you know, pre extreme weather and the passive house will still work as good as a house in Houston, Texas, or Miami, Florida. It just, there's adaptations to what you need to do depending on the location you're in. So it's pretty fascinating re emergence of something we've done for thousands of years. Now we discovered it again. 00:16:01 Carlos Ramos: And it doesn't have to take away from those, those softer attributes of the house. We think of like the charm or the livability actually can enhance it, right? 00:16:09 Naim Jabbour: Absolutely. A lot of the passive homes I studied and researched look like your traditional single family home. You wouldn't even know that this is a passive home. It's like any other home in the neighborhood. And that's the, that's the key thing to think about. People sometimes mistake sustainability. As this futuristic looking, modern thing. It could be, but it doesn't have to be. It's whatever you, your client would like to do. It's just the way you design it and the way you build it from the specifications that makes it a sustainable passive home. Yeah. 00:16:37 Sumer Beatty: That's why I was curious when I said when in Williamsport, like, do we have them? Because I suspected we may not know if they're. 00:16:45 Naim Jabbour: There might be, but I'm not aware of. But it's something that's picking up and it's just, you know, breaking the old traditions of how we build and construct things. And it just takes a little time for people to buy into it. But I'm seeing it more and more now. And this school, this program is spearheading this process because the Habitat for Humanity house that we're going to be building here on campus. with the help of architecture students, construction students, it's gonna be an net zero home, which means it's a home that completely runs on renewable energy and it doesn't have a carbon footprint. So we can have an example in a couple of years that we can talk about. 00:17:19 Sumer Beatty: That's so exciting. Yeah. I just was reading about that the other day. Exactly. Amazing. And you're involved in that your students are involved in the, that 00:17:26 Naim Jabbour: the department, our students, the design that was selected was a designed by a third year, a fourth year, a senior student right now that designed it last year. Sadie Meyer, I think. So it's just exciting, really 00:17:37 Sumer Beatty: exciting. Oh, that's fantastic. 00:17:38 Carlos Ramos: Yeah. So Sandra, you're ended a really good time because you have, you have three years left in your, or I, I forget which year you are. 00:17:45 Sandra Gallick: I'm actually a senior this 00:17:47 Carlos Ramos: Oh, you're a senior. 00:17:47 Sandra Gallick: Yeah. Yeah. I am an non-traditional student, so I do have just a couple more semesters, after, but really this will be my last year for all of my architectural classes. And then I have some gen eds to take care of. 00:18:01 Carlos Ramos: But you'll at least be able to participate on the ground floor of this project. 00:18:04 Sandra Gallick: Oh, absolutely. 00:18:05 Sumer Beatty: Yeah. So I have to ask, Sandra, how you found architecture. I know this isn't, it's not on our docket. I'm just, I have to, I'm just curious how, and we heard Dr. Jabbour say he had that aha moment and just that, you know, just pull to the profession. How did you, how did you come into it? 00:18:25 Sandra Gallick: Well, I've always loved architecture. I grew up in Long Island, so I would, Dr. Jabbour, just kind of walk around the city and just appreciate all the different buildings. And so I raised my family and when it was my opportunity to go back to work, I thought, well, I could either go get a job or I could pursue a career. My lifelong passion, and so I opted to pursue my lifelong passion. 00:18:50 Sumer Beatty: Oh, that's great. Good for you. Yeah. That's awesome. So how's sustainability and, and, and that aspect play into it for you? Was that a deciding factor that that's a key part of the program here at Penn College? 00:19:03 Sandra Gallick: Oh, absolutely. I mean, the hands on, We did that project last semester with Sadie and, you know, I was in her classroom. Yes. Yeah, I didn't do it with her. I did a separate project, but, our whole class did it and I, I really appreciate sustainability more now than I did when I started here. I mean, it's, it's a great program and the hands on, you just can't. You can't compare it to anything else that's out there. 00:19:38 Sumer Beatty: So if we think about someone who might be listening and thinking, you know what, I get that, this all sounds really interesting. Are there certain skills or anything you might want to tell them about being an architect and what that's like? 00:19:50 Naim Jabbour: You gotta be resilient. Okay. You gotta be very patient. And you got to have thick skin because everything's going to seem and sound personal. When you're presenting a project, you labored for eight or 10 weeks and then you have a guest critic just completely, completely shutting you down. It's just the nature of what we do. It's very, it's very kind of objective. It's like looking at a piece of art in a museum and you know, you might like cubism, you might think it's just, what is this? But that's how it is. That's the, I mean, besides the functionality and all the requirements at the end, you're looking at a creation of art embodied in a building structure. And some people like it, some people don't care about it. Your job is to make it meaningful enough for them to at least buy into the story that you're trying to sell. Because that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to tell a story. We're writing a book. And the book should be one that you can keep somebody interested in flipping the pages. And that's, I tell my students, and you'll hear that next semester again, I tell them if you're trying to create a building and you create a design solution, make me love it or make me hate it. If I have no triggered feelings about it, you have not done your job. If I'm feeling completely, you know, unmoved or, you know, just vanilla, like, okay, whatever. It's, it's not sending the message. So good architecture triggers. Triggers emotions, good, bad, it makes you laugh, it makes you sing, it makes you cry, it makes you hate something, it makes you love something. As long as it's doing that, that's successful architecture in my opinion. When it doesn't do any of that, then it is not architecture that is meaningful. You know, you walk into a Kmart or a Walmart, you walk, you do your thing, and you leave. But there's no triggers, there's no emotions, there's no memories. Good architecture does that. And it did that for me when I was trying to discover my path. So I, so I try to instill that in my students and tell them just feel something when you walk into a space. Whatever that feeling, it doesn't matter. It could be hate, it could be love, it could be, you know, wanting to sing and jump. Whatever it is. Otherwise, it's go back to the drawing board. 00:22:02 Carlos Ramos: What are the buildings that do that for, for you? And I'd address this to both of you. 00:22:07 Naim Jabbour: Sandra, go ahead. 00:22:08 Sandra Gallick: I mean, one building that sticks out in my mind is Jacob Javits Center. I mean, it's all glass and it's just giant. I mean, you just, when you walk around there, you're just... about that big. You can feel that mass and that space. That building really stands out in my mind. 00:22:28 Naim Jabbour: And in my case, it's, the Sagrada Familia, the Church of the Sacred Family by Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona. And I'm not a massively religious individual. I'm very spiritual. When you walk into this church, this beautiful basilica, the awe and grandeur of the space, the way the light filters through the stained glass and reflects on the floor, and how you as a person feel in that moment. You cannot not appreciate what you've seen and what you're occupying. It's not just a structure. You, you feel the aura, you feel the space, you feel Gaudi's thoughts and struggles and tribulations all in one place. It's just an incredible feeling. And that's the feeling that most of my students got when we visited the Basilica last two years ago. They were at awe. They just, they were for a one moment. on the trip. Nobody was, nobody had their phones. Everybody was just looking. So for one moment, the only moment I saw on that trip, they saw without the screen in front of them. They truly saw. They truly observed. And I was so, so happy to see that. That's such a gratifying feeling is that for once they're seeing them through the lens of their eyes, not an object in front of them. And that told me a lot. 00:23:57 Carlos Ramos: Buildings like that are, are Those are buildings that were not like your home that are like the big box store or even a commercial building Which is built in a matter of months to maybe a few years This is building that took 00:24:12 Naim Jabbour: decades and it's still under construction and it's really it's a labor of love for the entire Citizens of Barcelona because they've been so it doesn't matter if you're nine years old 90 or nine years old you've seen this structure under construction for the last You know, 50 plus years, if not more. And it's, it's part of the landscape. I mean, it's, it's what Barcelona is all about. And it's just, it's an incredible building. If you've never been to Spain, you've never been to Barcelona and you have one building to see before you move on to better and bigger things, this building should be the one you see. It's so impressive. 00:24:48 Carlos Ramos: What I find fascinating about that building too, and, and again, buildings of this, this stature, that yes, you have the architect, but because that construction is going decades or even in, in some cases, you know, hundreds or more, that yes, the architecture vision is there, but it's the masons. It's, everyone. 00:25:10 Naim Jabbour: Yeah. You see the evolution and the change in materials and the way. technology, and you know, advancements in construction techniques. And it's incredible. You're seeing a live, in person, real life simulation of a building adjusting through time. The vision is there, but you know, the application might be different. So it's, yeah, it's, we're lucky to have it. 00:25:32 Sumer Beatty: So I like that you brought up travel. Have you always traveled? I'm sure that's a big part of the architect that you are. 00:25:38 Naim Jabbour: Yeah, I, I did the study abroad components when I was in school and undergrad and grad. And it's just, to me, it's, it goes hand in hand in becoming a more, empathetic citizen and a more, global, human where you just, you're out of your shell. You know, you're looking at things in a... much more culturally sensitive, way. So beyond just architecture and history and art. It's really the, the human nature that drives me to travel and explore different cultures. 00:26:11 Sumer Beatty: And you take students on global experience courses. 00:26:15 Naim Jabbour: We've been doing that since 2014, every year and, it's been growing and growing every year. We're always facing the, the struggle of how can we get more students and accommodate them because we don't want to turn anyone away because we want to make this, this trip accessible and equitable and affordable to everyone that would like to participate. So, so it's always, it's a good problem to have figuring out, well, how many trips can we do and how many courses can we teach to accommodate everyone? But yeah, this year we have an amazing set of destinations lined up and this coming week we'll find out exactly what, what the numbers are. Yeah. We're excited. I'm hopeful. Are you going back to Europe? We're going back to Europe. Europe is my playground. I'm just biased toward Europe. There's so much history, culture, And just, you know, art and it's also a connection to me with back home. It's the closest I can get to back home and feel like I'm in Lebanon without being in Lebanon. So to me, there's a personal connection that, reminds me of back home. And, and this year, yeah, we're going to Prague, Vienna, Budapest. We're going to Milano, Lake Como, Verona, Venice. So it's an exciting 13 day journey that the students will immerse themselves in all these cultures. 00:27:32 Sumer Beatty: And is this only architecture students? 00:27:34 Naim Jabbour: It's open to every major on campus and I make it an effort part of my expanding how many students I can, I can get. I make it a point to make sure that there is a diverse population, not just in terms of majors, but also in terms of, you know, ethnicity, religion, ideologies, thoughts. Because I want to have a. I want to have truly a reflection of the world we live in on my trip, and I try my best to do that. And it's usually 30 to 40 percent non architecture students, so it's, yeah, very exciting. And it's been, again, like I said, it's picking up every year, and we're excited to see what this year holds for us. 00:28:11 Carlos Ramos: You mentioned access to that opportunity and many students maybe not feeling that they could afford to do something like that. That there is assistance for, to a degree, for some of that, right? 00:28:24 Naim Jabbour: Absolutely. There is scholarships and some funding that the college and Loni Kline's office provides from generous donors, past alumni. so that's, we're grateful for that. And, one of the reasons we always, make sure that we have a large cohort going on the trip is to bring the cost down because there's power in numbers. The more students sign up, that's cheaper the cost for the, for the entire cohort. So it's a, it's a two way approach that we try to kind of handle that. 00:28:57 Carlos Ramos: If there are other donors that want to be able to help out some of those students, we'll provide a link in, in our show notes back to that. 00:29:03 Naim Jabbour: Absolutely. It's life changing and, it'll be very much appreciated. So if I remember correctly, you've done some research, we're kind of flipping back to sustainable design a little bit, but can you tell us about your research? I'd love to learn more about that. Yeah, most of my, graduate level research was focusing on, sustainable housing. and, with my, with my doctorate, I tied in, affordable, sustainable housing because sustainable housing is great, but if you're pricing out a large sector of the population, then what's the point? Again, we start dealing with the issues of energy equity. and energy poverty. And it is the, the massive demographic sectors that suffer from that. So my focus was on delivering sustainable, affordable housing, and I targeted a lot of my research either in PA, or in Lebanon. And these are the places I call home. And it was really just exciting to kind of to see the people reception of the ideas after we developed them. 00:30:03 Sumer Beatty: So it seems like two completely different environments. How does, how did that work? What were the findings related to the two locations? 00:30:11 Naim Jabbour: So for instance, you know, in PA, you, you see there's a little bit, tougher buy in. When you talk about sustainable housing, a different way of living, people are just, you know, entrenched in their old ways and traditional behaviors, and they don't see the urgency of moving into a more sustainable world. Where in Lebanon, It's a matter of life and death. It's a matter of, you know, do I have food on my table for the next day? So sustainability, it's not just about saving the planet and leaving it in a better place for our children. It's about Sustaining your livelihood day in day out So there was massive buy in when I was doing my surveying and I can actually see that energy poverty and energy equity was a huge component and why people We're leaning towards sustainable solutions, and it was truly kind of a bottom up approach when the US tends to be a top to bottom guidelines by the government or the state that mandates certain things. In Lebanon, it's really a bottom up movement, which is much more effective in any approach you're trying to achieve. So that was a huge finding. 00:31:23 Sumer Beatty: So with your PA surveys, what were some of the concerns that people, were they open ended questions, or do you have a sense of like... 00:31:29 Naim Jabbour: The cost, the labor available to do the work, the skills needed to be able to build passive homes or net zero energy homes, and some instances, you know, it went completely ideological and political. Like, why do we need to do stable housing? There's nothing that's wrong. We can live the way we can live and everything's going to be okay. Where in Lebanon, there isn't that. Everybody recognizes the urgency and, and the problems we have, both that affects them economically and environmentally, and they were, they were all in. So that was incredible to, to learn. 00:32:04 Sumer Beatty: Was there anything that, any takeaways that you applied directly to your, your practice as an architect? 00:32:09 Naim Jabbour: Yeah, I think one of the major findings is that Like I said, leaning on more passive, natural approaches, because that will bring the cost down for the client, and that will create more buy in, versus automatically rely on mechanical, active, expensive ways. And that was, and that was something the Lebanese people are doing now because they recognize we have so much sun in Lebanon. let's use sunlight to power our houses and heat them. And it's just like this amazing green revolution happening from the ground all the way to the top. without any government mandates or help. So it's an incredible thing that I hope to kind of start kind of bringing more into the U. S. 00:32:55 Sumer Beatty: Is your business primarily in Lebanon right now? 00:32:58 Naim Jabbour: Most of my, most of my commissions and work are in Lebanon, but I've done some work, in the US also like, you know, beach house additions, you know, renovations, residential scale here and there, but my practice full blown, you know, a single family homes, sustainable projects is, is in Lebanon. 00:33:19 Carlos Ramos: Do you see a movement within the US within a, even like a portion of architecture firms that are moving in this way or parts of architecture houses? 00:33:30 Naim Jabbour: Absolutely. I think we have seen it massively now shifting in education and we're seeing that also spill into the commercial practice. where a lot of, a lot of companies are now creating divisions within their companies, researching sustainable approaches. And clients are slowly but surely now demanding, you know, solutions that are sustainable to themselves and their clients. So definitely, I think compared to 10 or 20 years ago, it's, we're in a much better place. We're not there yet. We're nowhere near what Europe is doing or the Middle East is doing. And, I think we have lots of way to go, but definitely, I mean, I think I see the progress day in, day out. So I'm very hopeful. And programs like ours are really a huge step in that direction. So that's what we, I think we have here something really special. 00:34:19 Sumer Beatty: Yeah, and it takes time, like you said, so it's not, you know, you have people like Sandra going out into the workforce and you're just, you're going to be ready to make a difference and I'm sure there are classes before her and there will be more after her with that same motivation. 00:34:33 Naim Jabbour: It is. It is. Absolutely. And that. Toughest thing is, we're not talking about sustainability is tough to achieve. We can't. It's behavioral changes that take time. For me to change your behavior, that takes time. And I cannot force you to change it. You don't live in, you're not in Europe or the Middle East, where you can, they force them. You have to design natural energy homes. That's the law. The U. S., thank God, doesn't work like this. And I'm grateful for that, but it takes more time to change your lifestyle and behavior. get buy in and slowly but surely problems like this, students like Sandra are, are spreading the message. 00:35:07 Sumer Beatty: So what is your vision in a perfect world? What are you thinking? Like, let's say 20 years, what does that look like? 00:35:14 Naim Jabbour: We don't even talk about sustainable architecture anymore. It is architecture that is sustainable. So we don't have, that's because right now you call it, hey, this is a sustainable building. We have a sustainable architecture program. Oh, it's all architecture, it's all buildings, and they happen to all be sustainable because that's the standard. It's not an extra thing you have to do or convince a client to do. It is what is expected. It's code. You know, you have to design buildings that are ADA accessible, compatible, and compliant. Sustainability should be just that. It's just everybody expects, and then you can go over if you would like. 00:35:55 Carlos Ramos: And really, at the end of the day, it's because it, it is just the better choice. It's, it's not necessarily because it's a mandate, it's that it, you know, I, if I want to build a building, I want it to, I want it to be comfortable. 00:36:10 Naim Jabbour: Exactly. 00:36:10 Carlos Ramos: I want it to feel like, you know, if it's a home, I want it to feel like home. 00:36:14 Naim Jabbour: Exactly. 00:36:14 Carlos Ramos: And if I can do that without having to, you know, rely on a whole lot of infrastructure. Yeah. Gosh, why not do that? 00:36:22 Naim Jabbour: And save money. Yeah. And save money on utilities where you can. They potentially end up paying zero utilities. Monthly. Imagine that. 00:36:30 Sumer Beatty: Yeah, and that's where it's surprising that homeowners and individuals in Pennsylvania, that speaks to people here, I think. And that's why I think, 00:36:47 Naim Jabbour: Yeah, it's going to cost me a little bit more than a traditional home. But what is a little more when you're talking about 30, 40, 50 years living in a home, paying zero utilities per month? You're going to make everything you invested times 10. 00:37:01 Carlos Ramos: And the value? 00:37:02 Naim Jabbour: Value of the home, the real estate, the property, the comfort, the comfort. That's really important. Are you comfortable in the home you're living in? Do you feel healthy? That's important. 00:37:11 Sumer Beatty: The comfort and the way it feels, but also how do you feel about living in a home that's the right home for, you know, there's that too. 00:37:18 Naim Jabbour: Exactly. 00:37:19 Carlos Ramos: Sandra, you've got a tall order here because you are part of that next 20 years of getting us to Naim's vision. Where do you see yourself starting once you graduate from Penn College? I 00:37:32 Sandra Gallick: have some, local companies that I will be applying to, and I also plan to go for my master's graduate degree. 00:37:40 Naim Jabbour: Brilliant. 00:37:41 Sandra Gallick: Passive house is really the way to go. I mean, like Professor Jabbour said, it's a little bit more upfront, but you, you know, the the savings just within five years, seven years is incredible. Oh yeah. The 00:37:57 Naim Jabbour: ROI is just. Common sense. 00:38:00 Carlos Ramos: That, that seems like a very short, short time period. I mean, most people when they buy a home, they're, they're in there for five to seven years. 00:38:07 Sumer Beatty: Oh, yeah. 00:38:07 Naim Jabbour: Yeah. And the ROI is within that. And the front investment is not, I mean, you're talking maybe 5 percent over what a traditional price of a home is. But again, it's just being able to sell that story and convincing them why it matters. 00:38:23 Sumer Beatty: So, do most people that you work with come to you already with that idea that I want this to be a passive building, I want this to be a sustainable building, or do you have the opposite where you're trying, okay. 00:38:33 Naim Jabbour: Both. The people that come in with the idea that I want this to be a passive home, it's awesome and they do that. It's, but more than often we deal with clients, both in my former practice, in Houston, Texas. And now when my kind of private practice that you need to educate them, not that they don't want to do it. They just need to educate them. What is it? What is it? What does passive house mean? What does net zero energy means and explain the front end investment and the ROI. And then this is going to be just, you know, common sense. You're going to make it times 10 And there's a lot of programs and incentives, state and federal, that also help. So, you're not on your own. The government is trying to do a lot here. It's just, sometimes it's tough to get that buy in. And education is huge, and that's why this program at Penn College is tremendously, tremendously important, for many reasons. 00:39:28 Carlos Ramos: How does the program at Penn College differ from other programs? 00:39:31 Naim Jabbour: The sustainable focus of the program, it's unparalleled. Unless you go to grad school, most undergrad architecture programs, they might brush on sustainability, just passing by. There's not really that focus and that hands on application wise with everything that we approach, that you're not going to see that. It's much more theoretical than other programs. We're over here, we're, we're practicing and applying everything that we theoretically introduce to the students. So those are two things that I think are just distinguished will be special to us. 00:40:02 Carlos Ramos: Yeah, I know we walk into space and there's always like, it seems like a new space every time I go there. The, the mod that the amount of models that. Yeah. 00:40:18 Naim Jabbour: You'll be doing that. 00:40:19 Sandra Gallick: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Can't wait. 00:40:21 Sumer Beatty: So are we ready for your final takeaway? Is there something you want to leave our audience with? 00:40:26 Naim Jabbour: Absolutely. I, and this is something that I truly believe, right? That, if you're interested in predicting the future, create it. That's what architects do. We predict the future by creating the future. And, and that is such an amazing, amazing feeling and responsibility. 'cause we wanna do it right and having the chance to shape the world we live in and affect people's lives in a meaningful way. Not many disciplines can, can do that. And we hope to do it for the best because we, we didn't, we don't always do it for the best. And that's what I tell everybody. Just give a damn about everything that you do. Create meaningful experiences. And very importantly, architecture is not just buildings. Architecture is psychology. It's emotions, it's the environments you create, it's the journeys that you take, not just the final product. And Sandra and the students will discover that next semester, that the process of creating architecture is many times, in my opinion, more important than the end product that you create. So, so design like you give a damn. 00:41:45 Sandra Gallick: Words to live by. 00:41:46 Sumer Beatty: Yeah. 00:41:47 Carlos Ramos: And I want to audit that course. 00:41:49 Sumer Beatty: I was thinking the same thing. 00:41:51 Naim Jabbour: It's so much fun. We'll have a lot of fun next semester. Yeah. 00:41:54 Sumer Beatty: What are the pre reqs? 00:41:55 Naim Jabbour: We can talk about that. We can waive them. 00:41:57 Sumer Beatty: Okay. All right. 00:42:00 Carlos Ramos: We're in. 00:42:00 Sumer Beatty: All right. Thanks so much to you both. 00:42:04 Sandra Gallick: Thank you 00:42:07 Sumer Beatty: Thanks for hanging out today. 00:42:09 Carlos Ramos: Don's forget to rate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts. 00:42:13 Sumer Beatty: Check out our show notes for bookmarks to your favorite sections and links to resources that we mentioned in today's episode. 00:42:19 Carlos Ramos: You can also find past episodes and see what's on deck for upcoming ones at pct. edu slash podcasts. 00:42:26 Sumer Beatty: And of course, we are open to your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. So send those over at podcast at pct. edu. It's been real. Catch you next time.