Published  Mar 6, 2023

Design Collective is thrilled to announce that Seonhee Kim AIA, LEED BD+C, WELL AP, ECODISTRICTS AP, has been promoted to Principal, in advancement of her role as the firm’s Director of Sustainability. A leading and inspirational leader, Seonhee will continue to champion and drive the firm’s commitment to innovation in sustainability in our work and within our firm: how we design for the built environment, how we practice and operate as a business, and how sustainability strengthens our overall commitment to environmental, social, and corporate responsibility. 

Seonhee is a proven thought leader in sustainable design and construction throughout nearly 20 years of practice. A practicing architect with an emphasis on living, learning, and working environments, Seonhee has contributed to the design of more than 40 LEED projects, and consulted on many more. She brings a unique combination of data-driven, practical experience, academic research, and thought-leadership, to guide the firm’s approach to sustainability, building performance, and green building rating systems. 

As Director of Sustainability, Seonhee led the firm in 2017 to become an AIA 2030 commitment signatory, by initiating a firmwide conversation to craft its Sustainability Action Plan. As a result, Design Collective has committed to achieving carbon neutrality on projects by 2030 and taking actions to achieve a zero-carbon built environment.

“Climate crisis demands our urgent action. Persistent injustice tests our conscience. Pandemics force us to rethink our priorities and understand how important it is to take care of ourselves and our neighbors. As designers of the built environment, we influence over 40% of world carbon emissions and it is our time to become willing participants to shape a carbon free and just future for all. As we stand at the crossroads for a better future, I am deeply honored and humbled as I accept this opportunity, and I am reminded that here at Design Collective, it is not only ok to be different but encouraged to bring diverse ideas and ideals to the table” says Seonhee Kim, of Design Collective.


Chief Operating Officer, Mike Goodwin added “With this public recognition and elevation to Principal, we are celebrating Seonhee’s past contributions, as well as demonstrating our firm’s resounding commitment to incorporating sustainable practices and design solutions into every aspect of our work through her leadership.”

In her new role as Principal, Seonhee will develop new research and industry resources to lead sustainability initiatives across Design Collective’s disciplines and studios through education and implementation of performance-informed design processes. Her strategic leadership in green building systems and carbon reduction will also continue to advance the firm’s sustainable and regenerative design processes for all projects utilizing the AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence. Seonhee is a firm believer that sustainability is essential and integral to every project, and every project serves the purpose of creating a just and equitable future.

Seonhee is a licensed architect and received her Master and Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics from Ewha University in Seoul, South Korea, prior to her Master of Architecture from the University of Maryland. She is a LEED BD+C, WELL, and EcoDistricts Accredited Professional, and a member of USGBC Maryland’s Market Leadership Advisory Board (MLAB) and Sustainable Design Leaders group. She was also recently appointed to serve on the National AIA’s 2023 Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Awards jury, and in the 2023 cohort of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership.


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