The Team

Tom Burbeck

Tom Burbeck

Project Owner

A west coast transplant, Tom is happily married to Marti, and father of two adult sons who live in Ann Arbor and with whom he spends time every day.

He is a principal of a medium-sized software firm serving publishers world wide, and spends about 25% of his time in western Europe working with clients there.

Tom has had a lifelong love of architecture and design. He reads theology and history avidly, and has, of course, a growing interest in permaculture.

Tom says, “We were introduced to the concept of green building and the Living Building Challenge by our architect Michael Klement. I’ve welcomed this opportunity to exercise fully my four major interests.

“Our Living Building will provide a base of operation for establishing a permaculture farm, and organizing community resources for growing and distributing fresh produce for the community.

“Our LBC project provides a wonderful platform for our team of professionals to move forward the cause of sustainable building. The new and engaging relationships seem endless.

“Our Living Building will provide a forum for ongoing education in sustainable building and farming, as well as a lively gathering place for family and friends.”

Marti Burbeck

Marti Burbeck

Project Owner

Marti grew up near the banks of the Erie Canal, in Western New York State. Following her Maize and Blue college years, she met Tom, and they’ve been happily married for 32 years.

She taught middle school math for several years, then stayed at home with their two young sons. As the boys grew up, she took on the position of media and communications director at a local church, where she has worked for the past 18 years.

Marti’s love of nature and aversion to “store-bought” fits like a glove the inspiration behind Burh Becc at Beacon Springs and the the Living Building Challenge. To take only what is needed and what nature so abundantly provides, and to return nourishment to the land, will be a lifelong dream come true.

Marti says, “As I read about permaculture and perennial polyculture, I’m learning that sustainable farming is all about growing soil. I look forward to growing soil at Beacon Springs: literally, on the worn out and badly used land, and figuratively, in our home, fostering abundant and joyful life for all who visit, and sharing what we learn to help lead the charge toward responsible food production and sustainable building and living.”

Michael Klement

Michael Klement

Architect

Michael R. Klement, AIA, is the exceedingly proud principal of Architectural Resource, LLC, a talented and innovative Ann Arbor firm devoted exclusively to residential design: new homes, cottages, additions, remodels and restorations, all conceived from a deep conviction that we have a sacred responsibility with our built form to sensitively honor our past, creatively improve our present, and wisely preserve for our future.

Tom and Marti’s project, Burh Becc at Beacon Springs, has presented our firm its greatest professional challenge – and opportunity – to date, and possibly for our entire professional legacy.

Until now we have all accepted contemporary built form as essentially transgressions upon the natural world. We have accepted as fact that our buildings would trample our past, pillage our present, and lay ruin to our future – that they would be toxic vessels of ecological destruction powered by ancient sunlight leaving a legacy of environmental waste.
Through the incisively brilliant vision of the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge we have an oculus through which to view things differently – and not just a little differently – radically differently. The Living Building Challenge asks the audacious question: What if Nature designed our homes? What would they look like? How would they perform? How would they engage the ecology around them?

For the answer, one looks to nature. What if our homes emulated one of nature’s simplest yet most beautiful acts of brilliance: a flower? A flower uses current solar income as its source of energy; it uses rain from the sky or water stored in the ground nearby; it uses only immediately available non-toxic, sustainably-obtained raw materials to create and nurture itself; it enhances and improves the ecological system it occupies; it embodies beauty by its very essence; and lastly, it creates no waste.

In Burh Becc at Beacon Springs, we are attempting to create that home, that built form, which reaches far beyond “green” or even “sustainable.” Burh Becc at Beacon Springs is the first residential project in the Midwest registered with the International Living Future Institute seeking full Living Building Challenge certification.

Let’s see how we do.

AIA: Principal

Bob Burnside

Bob Burnside

Builder

Owner Fireside Home Construction, since 1996

B.S. in Marketing, Indiana University, 1973

M.B.A., University of Phoenix, 1990

21-year executive career at Buick Division of G.M.

Custom home builder and remodeler since 1996

Certified Graduate Builder, National Association Home Builders

Certified Green Builder,  Nationall Association Home Builders

Built the first Leed Platinum new home in Michigan

2013 President, Home Builder’s Association of Washtenaw County

Amanda Webb-Nichols

Amanda Webb-Nichols

LBC Project Manager

Catalyst Partners is our Living Building Challenge project manager, with Amanda Webb Nichols and Ben VanGessel doing the bulk of the work. Catalyst Partners has successfully assisted clients to achieve their efficiency and environmental goals on projects all over the country and around the world.

Catalyst Partners

Jane Hughes

Jane Hughes

Interior Designer

Jane brings 51 years of professional commercial and residential interior design experience, including design studio and business management, project team participation, and project management.

organizationaldesigns.com

Shannan Gibb-Randall

Shannan Gibb-Randall

Landscape Architect

Shannan Gibb-Randall is the principal of InSite Design Studio, landscape architects that focus on ecologically-sensitive design. Her background in both art history and ecology inform her design process for creating beautiful and sustainable sites. InSite is involved from ecological assessment, through grading and layout of site elements, to planting. We protect native communities that remain and create integrated soil, water and vegetative systems that beautifully serve both clients and the environment.

The Living Building Challenge is a privilege to work within. Its incredible rigor pushes designers to scrutinize all design choices, materials, construction processes and potential performance to create the kind of world that benefits us all – one that allows human beings to endure on a resilient planet. May its influence spread!

InSite Design Studio, Inc.

Brice Madden

Brice Madden

Cabinet Maker

A craftsman for nearly 20 years, Brice began his career as a carpenter apprentice.  Over the years, Brice has worked alongside some of the areas most skilled professionals beginning with a serious study of Zen meditation, where he practiced working with single-minded effort.  Consequently, a growing awareness caused him to consider the environmental impact of construction practices. He began to study low-impact methods of building/remodeling and to employ them in his work projects, seeking out others interested in green remodeling and building.

Brice has experience in a wide variety of projects including timber framing, fine trim work, remodeling work and cabinetmaking. His award winning cabinetry has been featured in several of the areas best home shows.

Currently, he operates a small company in hamtramck, MI which provides a variety of home services.  His company attempts to achieve zero building material waste through a detailed recycle/reuse program and his locally fabricated fair trade cabinetry are built from FSC certified materials and nontoxic finishes. Brice continues to study the most current methods of sustainability and best environmental practices.

The Living Building Challenge is an opportunity for Brice to take the cabinetmaking craft to a new level, to blend the unusual use of onsite fabrication and strict material selections, as well as work with a team of like-minded individuals.  He is greatly humbled to be selected for such an endeavor.

Detroit House Carpentry

Ben VanGessel

Ben VanGessel

LBC Project Management

 Benjamin is an urban planning professional specializing in sustainable civil infrastructure development and life-cycle assessment. He is a Catalyst Partners team member, helping to assess and select Living Building Challenge compliant products and materials for the project.

Benjamin VanGessel, LEED-AP
Master of Urban Planning (MUP)
University of Michigan

Matt Grocoff

Matt Grocoff

Net-Zero Consultant

Matt’s own 112-year-old historic net zero energy home is believed to be the oldest single family residence to be seeking Living Buildings Challenge recognition.  It was selected as one of USA Today’s “Best Green Homes of 2010” and The Atlantic called it “sustainable perfection.” A frequent source for journalists on the topic of net zero energy, Matt has been called a “proven zero energy master”, the “#1 All-Electric Innovator” and one of “Greater Detroit’s most progressive personalities.” He was honored as a 2012 Michigan Green Leader by the Detroit Free Press.  Matt is an adviser to the University of Michigan BLUElab team targeting Living Building Certification for his landmark home. He is also an adviser to the Lawrence Tech 2015 Solar Decathlon Team.

LEED-GA; LBC Ambassador; principal, THRIVE Net Zero Energy Collaborative

Audrey Buck

Audrey Buck

Intern

A Junior at Canton High School she became part of this team to be able to decide what career field to enter as she begins applying for colleges. She is very interested in “green” architecture and this was an amazing opportunity to see the process of creating a wonderful, sustainable home. The Living Building Challenge is important to her because she loves the earth and feels like it this challenge is important in creating a sustainable revolution.

What a privilege it will be to inhabit the home created by these dedicated, knowledgeable and inspired folks!

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